Nina Pierson ~ The Unlucky Ziegfeld Girl

Nina Pierson

Nina Pierson was a showgirl who had numerous failed love affairs before her untimely death

She was born Nina Belle Pearson on August 8, 1904 in Spooner, Wisconsin. Sadly her mother died when she was seven. Nina graduated from high school in 1921 and briefly worked as a teacher. Then she moved to Chicago and became a stenographer. She won a beauty contest judged by Rudolph Valentino. He helped her get a job in the chorus of the show Artists and Models. Nina joined the Ziegfeld Follies in 1924. The beautiful brunette had an affair with the show's producer Florenz Ziegfeld, who was married to Billie Burke. She started dating millionaire businessman Tommy Manville in 1931. He proposed with a thirteen carat diamond engagement ring but he kept postponing the wedding. Nina married Paul Leviton, a French manufacturer, in July of 1934. She was shocked to discover her husband was not the millionaire he claimed to be. In 1935 she divorced him in Mexico and received a $10,000 settlement. Soon after she reunited with Tommy Manville but he ended their romance in 1937.

Nina PiersonNina Pierson

When she refused to leave the home they shared he had the police forcibly remove her. A few months later she announced she was marrying a Russian count named Terence D'Abo. Meanwhile her ex-husband, Paul Leviton, had remarried and inherited five million dollars. Nina sued him claiming their Mexican divorce was not legal. By this time she was addicted to sleeping pills and having financial problems. After breaking up with Terence she got engaged to song writer Clarence Moore. She impulsively eloped with Percy Kirke, a British engineer, on April 21, 1938. The couple separated the next day and never saw each other again. Tragically on September 17, 1938 she died from an overdose of sleeping pills at the young age of thirty-four. Nina was found in a Paris hotel room wearing a designer dress surrounded by twelve empty champagne bottles. She was cremated and her ashes were interred at Sparkman Hillcrest Memorial Park in Dallas, Texas.

Nina Pierson Paul LevitonNina Pierson Tommy Manville
With Paul Leviton                                                                                   

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