Actress Billie Burke

Celebrities, Celebrity Q&A, People
on May 1, 2005

Could you please tell me what you know about the actress Billie Burke, who played the good witch in The Wizard of Oz?
—Jennie S., North Carolina

Mary William Ethelbert Appleton Burke was born in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 7, 1885, and grew up touring Europe, where her father was a famed circus clown. The family settled in London, and at 18 she made her stage debut. Four years later, she moved to Broadway, eventually marrying legendary showman Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. Though she preferred the stage, she made 85 films, including Dinner at Eight and Merrily We Live, which earned her an Oscar nomination. She died in 1970 at age 84.