Billie Burke - Rotten Tomatoes

Billie Burke



The daughter of a circus clown, American actress Billie Burke became a musical comedy star in the early 1900s under the aegis of two powerful Broadway producers: Charles K. Frohman and Florenz Ziegfeld. Burke's career soared after her marriage to Ziegfeld, which was both a blessing and a curse in that some newspaper critics, assuming she wouldn't have reached the heights without her husband's patronage, gave her some pretty rough reviews. Actually, she had a very pleasant singing voice and ingratiating personality, not to mention natural comic gift that transferred well to the screen for her film debut in Peggy (1915). She had no qualms about adjusting to characters roles upon reaching 40, but she was devoted to the stage and didn't intend to revive her film career - until the crippling debts left behind by Ziegfeld after his death in 1932 forced her to return full-time to Hollywood. At first concentrating on drama, Burke found that her true strength lay in comedy, particularly in portraying fey, birdbrained society ladies. She worked most often at MGM during the sound era, with rewarding side trips to Hal Roach studios, where she appeared as Mrs. Topper in the three Topper fantasy films, played Oliver Hardy's wife in Zenobia (1939) and earned an academy award nomination for her performance in Merrily We Live (1938). A tireless trouper, Burke appeared in virtually every sort of film, from rugged westerns like Sgt. Rutledge (1960) to a pair of surprisingly good two-reel comedies for Columbia Pictures in the late 1940s. If she had done nothing else worthwhile in her seven-decade career, Burke would forever be remembered for her lighthearted portrayal of Glinda the Good Witch in the matchless The Wizard of Oz (1939). In addition to her many film portrayals, Burke was herself portrayed in two filmed biographies of Flo Ziegfeld: Myrna Loy played her in The Great Ziegfeld (1936), while Samantha Eggar took the role in the TV-movie Ziegfeld: The Man and His Women (1978).

Photos

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet We're Rich Again
  • Actor
2014
No Score Yet Don't Look Down
  • Actor
1998
57% Twice Told Tales
  • Actor
1963
No Score Yet Pepe
  • Herself
1960
100% Sergeant Rutledge
  • Mrs. Cordelia Fosgate
1960
67% The Young Philadelphians
  • Mrs. J.A. Allen
1959
No Score Yet Small Town Girl
  • Mrs. Livingston
1953
No Score Yet Three Husbands
  • Mrs. Whittaker
1951
100% Father's Little Dividend
  • Doris Dunstan
1951
No Score Yet Darling, How Could You!
  • Rosie
1951
93% Father of the Bride
  • Doris Dunstan
1950
64% The Barkleys of Broadway
  • Mrs. Livingston Belney
1949
No Score Yet Breakfast in Hollywood
  • Mrs. Cartwright
1946
No Score Yet The Bachelor's Daughters
  • Actor
1946
No Score Yet The Cheaters (The Castaways)
  • Mrs. James C. Pidgeon
1945
No Score Yet Hi Diddle Diddle
  • Mrs. Prescott
1943
No Score Yet They All Kissed the Bride
  • Mrs. Drew
1942
No Score Yet In This Our Life
  • Lavinia Timberlake
1942
80% The Man Who Came to Dinner
  • Mrs. Stanley
1942
100% Topper Returns
  • Mrs. Topper
1941
No Score Yet Hullabaloo
  • Actor
1940
No Score Yet The Captain is a Lady
  • Blossy Stort
1940
No Score Yet Irene
  • Mrs. Herman Vincent
1940
No Score Yet And One Was Beautiful
  • Mrs. Julia Lattimer
1940
No Score Yet Eternally Yours
  • Aunt Abbey
1939
99% The Wizard of Oz
  • Glinda the Good Witch
1939
No Score Yet Zenobia, (Elephants Never Forget)
  • Mrs. Tibbitt
1939
No Score Yet Topper Takes a Trip
  • Mrs. Topper
1938
No Score Yet The Young in Heart
  • Marmy Carleton
1938
No Score Yet Merrily We Live
  • Mrs. Emily Kilbourne
1938
No Score Yet Everybody Sing
  • Diana Bellaire
1938
94% Topper
  • Henrietta Topper
1937
No Score Yet Parnell
  • Clara
1937
No Score Yet Navy Blue and Gold
  • Mrs. Alyce Gates
1937
No Score Yet The Bride Wore Red
  • Contessa di Meina
1937
No Score Yet Craig's Wife
  • Mrs. Frazier
1936
No Score Yet Piccadilly Jim
  • Eugenia Willis, Nesta's sister
1936
65% The Great Ziegfeld
  • Actor
1936
No Score Yet She Couldn't Take It (Woman Tamer)
  • Mrs. Van Dyke
1935
No Score Yet Becky Sharp
  • Lady Bareacres
1935
No Score Yet Splendor
  • Clarissa
1935
No Score Yet Doubting Thomas
  • Paula Brown
1935
No Score Yet Forsaking All Others
  • Paula
1934
No Score Yet Finishing School
  • Mrs. Helen Crawford Radcliff
1934
No Score Yet Where Sinners Meet
  • Eustacia
1934
No Score Yet Only Yesterday
  • Julia Warren
1933
100% Dinner at Eight
  • Mrs. Oliver Jordan
1933
No Score Yet Christopher Strong
  • Lady Elaine Strong
1933
No Score Yet A Bill of Divorcement
  • Meg Fairfield
1932
No Score Yet Glorifying the American Girl
  • Herself
1929

Quotes from Billie Burke's Characters