Doris Eaton Travis, born March 14, 1904, is today's last surviving Ziegfeld Follies dancer and celebrates her astounding 106th birthday. The panorama of her rich life is the subject of a biography by Pulitzer Prize nominee Lauren Redniss entitled Century Girl: 100 Years in the Life of Doris Eaton Travis, Last Living Star of the Ziegfeld Follies.
Eaton Travis began performing on stage as a young child, and made her Broadway debut at the age of 13. A year later, in 1918, she joined the famed Ziegfeld Follies as the youngest Ziegfeld Girl ever cast in the show. When her career in stage and screen declined, Eaton Travis started a second career as an Arthur Murray dance instructor and local television personality in Detroit. Her association with Arthur Murray lasted for three decades, during which time she rose through the ranks to own and manage a chain of nearly 20 schools. After retiring from her career with Arthur Murray, she went on to manage a horse ranch with her husband and returned to school, eventually earning several degrees.
Happy Birthday, Doris at the Travis Ranch in Norman, Oklahoma.
On May 11, 2010, Doris passed away at age 106. Her last public appearance was the opening of the 2010 Easter Bonnet show on April 27, 2010. On May 12, the lights of Broadway were dimmed in her honor.
On April 25-26 Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS' 25th annual Easter Bonnet Competition, was held at the MInisky Theatre in New York City. The two-day Broadway spectacular featured the companies of more than a dozen Broadway, off-Broadway and touring productions singing, dancing and donning original Easter bonnets. The event celebrates and concludes six intensive weeks of fundraising by the theatre community benefiting BC/EFA.
This year's competition will also include a special tribute to Doris Eaton Travis, an original Ziegfeld Girl and veteran of 12 editions of Easter Bonnet, who died last year at the age of 106.
Doris would have been honored.
For a more complete on-line biography http://www.mdpl.org/ADW/2008/doriseaton.html