Footlights Dim for Ziegfeld Girl Lucile Layton

From the Journal News, Dec. 24:

Lucile Zinman, one of the last living performers in the opulent “Ziegfeld Follies,” produced by Florenz Ziegfeld, died Tuesday at the age of 101. The Yonkers native was born July 22, 1903. A producer spotted her on the street and asked if she’d like to be in the movies. She decided she would, and she was cast in a silent version of “The Sign of the Cross.” “They sent a car for me every morning,” she said in a 1996 interview in this newspaper, “and the studio was only three blocks away.” She never did another movie, but she went on to do some modeling. Then she heard of a cast call for the “Ziegfeld Follies.” The dancing lessons she’d taken as a girl paid off: She was cast in the “Follies” of 1921. She performed under her stage name, Lucile Layton.

After the “Follies” of '24, Zinman enrolled in the Katharine Gibbs business school. In 1929, she married M. Boyd Zinman, a member of the New York Stock Exchange and a pioneer in electronic music who developed the theremin, the first truly electronic musical instrument. They had three children, Michael, Lee and Nancy. At age 40, she became an interior decorator. She is survived by her children, seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. M. Boyd Zinman died in 1971. The family has asked that donations in celebration of her life be sent to Amnesty International or the American Civil Liberties Union.

Wow. Talk about a fully-lived life.

That’s the 20th Century for ya. Never before was so much possible in one lifetime.

Just one thing: Leon Theremin invented (and developed) the theremin. Otherwise we’d be calling it the “zinman.”