Gilda Gray & Zelta Maynard: vintage 11x13 photo
Gilda is shown playing the ukulele while Zelta Maynard performs a hula dance.
Gilda was born Marinna Michalska, on 24 Octomber 1901 in Krakow, Austria-Hungary. At the age of 8 Gilda, her parents and sister immigrated to the United States. She originally performed under the name Mary Gray, but while in Chicago, she - and her shimmy dance - was noticed by talent agent Frank Westphal. Frank’s wife, vaudeville legend Sophie Tucker, convinced her to switch her name Mary Gray to Gilda Gray. Gilda went on to star in the 1922 version of the Ziegfeld Follies, and from there she went to work for Paramount Films. In the stock market crash of 1929, Gilda Gray lost most of her financial assets, and she never recovered. At the time of her death (22 December 1955) she was living with friends, and The Motion Picture Relief Fund paid for her funeral expenses.