Leone Sousa; Model and Ziegfeld Follies Girl
Leone Sousa, 91, a popular model, actress and Ziegfeld Follies girl of the 1930s. A native of Lake Elsinore, Calif., Sousa went to New York as a John Robert Powers model and soon graced magazine covers, billboards and national advertisements in photographs and illustrations by such artists as Arthur William Brown, James Montgomery Flagg and Edward Steichen. Designers elected the model “Miss Fifth Avenue” and Coco Chanel personally invited her to introduce the Chanel couture line on Paris runways. Sousa, dubbed “La Sousa” by approving gossip columnist Walter Winchell, was chosen by New York artists as the Most Beautiful Follies Girl of 1934. At the time she was appearing with comedienne Fanny Brice in a Ziegfeld Follies revue staged by impresario Flo Ziegfeld’s widow, Billie Burke, at New York’s Cass Theater. With actor George Houston, the first of her three husbands, Sousa moved to Los Angeles where she appeared in plays at the Pasadena Playhouse and the El Capitan Theater. She also performed with Houston in the play “Everyman,” produced by the California Festival Assn. at the Hollywood Bowl in 1936. In later years, Sousa raised registered poodles and worked in real estate with her third husband, Walter Avellar, who died in 1964. On Jan. 9 in Los Angeles.
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