Doris Eaton Travis....

Broadway dimmed their lights last night for an icon of the theatre, Doris Eaton Travis, the last surviving Ziegfeld Follies Girl. Doris was 106 years young and still dancing when she left us this past Tuesday.

I met Doris 38 years ago when I was just married and had moved to Norman. Her husband Paul was on the Board of Directors at the bank where I worked. I knew they had a ranch west of town and raised Quarter horse race horses, what I didn't know was Doris's history. Over the years I found out that she was a Ziegfeld Follies girl and Eddie Cantor, Will Rogers, Fannie Brice, Irving Berlin, George and Ira Gershwin were friends of the family and would come over for family dinners. She knew the composers and lyricists of the music I love to sing. She owned, operated and taught at her Arthur Murray Dance Studios in Michigan, that is how she met her beloved Paul which is another story.

Our friendship grew over the years as my husband would help her with her film projects and film all her birthday parties. Please understand that this woman knew how to give a party. They were glorious festive occasions. Every party would have a special theme and there would be entertainment, dancing and wonderful food. She would have over 100 people at her parties and during the evening she would go to each table and introduce each person at that table to the entire group and tell a little story about them. The last time I saw her do this she was 104. What an amazing memory.

Doris kept young by dancing everyday and surrounding herself with people who were young and young at heart. In 1997 Doris went back to the New Amsterdam Theatre in New York to celebrate the reopening of the theatre where she performed as a young lady. There were several other follies girls there but Doris was the only one that was still dancing. She even performed on the Ellen Show in New York that year. She was an instant hit. When she was 95 she had a part in the movie "Man in the Moon" starring Jim Carey. Here's this little lady having to fall down while riding a stick horse and be revived by Carey's character. I forget how many takes she said she had to do but it was quite a few. When she was 88 she graduated from the University of Oklahoma with her Bachelors degree. Doris wrote a book titled "The Days We Danced" which is a fascinating account of her life. Here is an interview with Ruby Comer that is wonderful, if you have time read it. She interviewed Doris when Doris was 104.

Doris had a wonderful infectious outlook on life and passed that outlook on to many who knew her. We will miss our darling Doris.

Doris, we tip our hats to you!


  1. What an interesting post, Susie. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I'm going to put a link to it on my blog, OK?

  2. What a wonderful lady to have known, she will always be remembered by your family.
    Also glad you are safe from the tornados.

  3. Thanks for a lovely story!!! I found it through the link on Bobbie's blog!!! I'll return often!

  4. Anonymous7/05/2011

    What words..


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