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Mary Alice Rice


Mary Alice Rice was one of the four showgirls who inherited the estate of William Guggenheim when he died in 1941. A college-educated soprano from Texas, she came to New York in 1930, was signed by George White for "Flying High." Ziegfeld stole her for the 1931 Follies. After Ziegfeld’s death, Jerome Kern & Hammerstein signed her be a featured singer in the Kern-Hammerstein musical, "Music in the Air," (1932) where she met Guggenheim, "who was very kind." Unfortunately being kind to showgirls had depleted his vast fortune. When his will was probated, he was found to be worth only $12,000.

Not daunted, Rice immediately went out and convinced the Plaza hotel that they could generate business by staging fashion shows for charity. She directed four decades of such shows for the high end New York hotels taking time off in 1954 to marry William Evers, director of the Dreyfuss Foundation. David S. Shields/ALS