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Peggy Fears (June 1, 1903 - August 24, 1994) was an American actress, who appeared in Broadway musical comedies during the 1920s and 1930s before becoming a Broadway producer.
Leaving New Orleans at the age of 16, she attended the Semple School. Yale University student Jock Whitney took her to the Richman Club where vocalist Helen Morgan heard her singing and encouraged her to attend auditions being conducted by Florenz Ziegfeld.
Beginning with Have a Heart (1917). Fears performed in ten Broadway productions, including the Ziegfeld Follies of 1925. In Ziegfeld's No Foolin (1926) she appeared with Edna Leedom and the Yacht Club Boys plus a chorus line with Paulette Goddard, Susan Fleming, Clare Luce and Baby Vogt. By 1932, with Child of Manhattan (written by Preston Sturges), Fears became a Broadway producer. Her only motion picture appearance is the role of Gaby Aimee in The Lottery Lover (1935).
In 1971, Louise Brooks, a former lover to Fears by her own account, wrote for Sight & Sound about meeting Peggy Fears and W.C. Fields in 1925.
On June 19, 1927, she married Alfred Cleveland Blumenthal. As Broadway producers during the early 1930s, they co-produced Music in the Air, written by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II. The show had a run of 342 performances in 1932-33.
Blumenthal earned $15 million during the first three years of their marriage. Fears purchased five Rolls-Royce autos and a $65,000 chinchilla coat, retaining only $300 in her bank account. The couple fought and split up. Eventually, they reunited and renewed their vows during three different marriage ceremonies. In 1950 Fears and Blumenthal separated permanently. Fears entertained in night clubs, and Blumenthal lived in Mexico.
Although she had been married, Fears is described by those who knew her as being bisexual or lesbian, primarily preferring the company of women in her private life. According to actress Louise Brooks, she and Fears were involved with one another, but Brooks never allowed herself to let the affair develop into a serious relationship.
In 1938, her mother was found dead from gas asphyxiation.
Fears built Fire Island Pines, New York's original Yacht Club. Part of the construction was a cinderblock hotel which still stands today. She invested $10,000 and bought an inlet on Great South Bay. In 1959, she paid off the last of her debt on her property. It was then valued at $350,000.
While a resident of Fire Island, she had a stormy romantic relationship with Tedi Thurman, famed in the 1950s as the sexy voice of Miss Monitor on NBC's Monitor. Thurman was interviewed about her life with Fears for Crayton Robey's documentary film, When Ocean Meets Sky (2003), which features Sara Ramirez as the voice of Peggy Fears. In 1966 she sold out her interest to John B. Whyte.
Fears died August 24, 1994 at the age of 91 in La Crescenta-Montrose, California.
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