Great Americans #5 Doris Eaton Travis

Doris Eaton Travis made her Broadway debut at the age of 13 and one year later was the youngest ever cast member of the Ziegfeld Follies.

After her career in stage and screen ended, she was a dance instructor with Arthur Murray Dance Studios for three decades, rising through the ranks to own & manage nearly twenty dance schools.

Travis retired from the dance studio business in 1968. She moved with her husband to Norman, Oklahoma, and established a ranch. Initially on 220 acres , it grew to 880 acres. Many of the quarter-horses bred and raised there were successful in racing. The ranch operated until 2008.[

In 1992, Travis graduated cum laude  from the University of Oklahoma.

In 1999, she made a film appearance with a small role in the Jim Carry vehicle “Man on the Moon.”

At the age of 100, in 2004, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from Oakland University.

In January 2008, in Miami Beach, at the age of 103, Travis was the Grand Marshal of the opening parade for the Art Deco Weekend festival.

She died on May 11, 2010, one month after her final dancing performance on April 27 the same year at an Easter Bonnet show.

On May 12, the lights of Broadway were dimmed in her honor.

God Bless America, a nation where, just 13 years ago, a 106 year old accomplished, intelligent woman could entertain people dancing 93 years after starting that career on Broadway.

Will that strong free and open culture survive?

Or is it bound to crash?

Sadly, I suspect that we will not see her like again.

Geoff Fox, 11th May, 2023, Down Under

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