Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The "Funny Girl" was "plenty funny"

Fanny Brice, born Fannie Borach, debuted in the New York production of the Ziegfeld Follies on this day in 1910. It wasn’t long before Brice became known as America’s funny girl.

Brice was originally noticed by composer Irving Berlin; but was truly discovered by Florenz Ziegfeld, appearing as a Ziegfeld show girl, and then as the star of the Follies over the next 26 years. The comedienne, who sang novelty and dialect songs, also wowed the audience with her torch numbers such as, I’d Rather Be Blue, When a Woman Loves a Man, My Man and Second Hand Rose.

A regular on Rudee Vallee’s radio show, The Fleischmann Hour, in the 1920s, Fanny Brice joined The Ziegfeld Follies of the Air at age 45. The show on CBS radio was the introduction of her funny-voiced character, Baby Snooks. In 1937 she joined NBC radio and continued as the Snooks kid, a seven-year old spoiled brat. Brice’s most famous line was, “Whyyyyyy, daddy, whyyyyy?” From 1936 through 1951, Brice was one of radio’s biggest draws.

Fanny Brice died on May 29, 1951 at the age of 59 but she is still with us in the Broadway show [1964] and film [1968], "Funny Girl", based on her life. Barbra Streisand gained recognition and acclaim for her role in both, as Fanny Brice the "Funny Girl".
Fanny Brice as "Baby Snooks" with Bob Hope

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