Ethelreda Leopold, elected by her peers as the perfect Busby Berkeley girl and once described by a major New York newspaper as "the epitome of vacuous beauty," has died. She was 80.
Leopold, who often worked in commercials in her later years, died of pneumonia Jan. 26 in North Hollywood.
A native of Chicago, the 17-year-old Leopold was modeling teenage fashions when she was spotted by a Warner Bros. scout. She was immediately hired for Berkeley's chorus line in the 1934 "Dames" starring Joan Blondell, Dick Powell and Ruby Keeler.
Among the 110 chorines, Leopold scored highest in a vote on five separate categories: prettiest face, prettiest legs, best figure, most talented (she played piano and drew sketches) and most popular. Her highest score was for popularity.
The vote earned her a cross-country trip to promote the film as the exemplary Busby Berkeley girl. Chaperoned by her mother, Gertrude Leopold, she made appearances in New York and throughout the Midwest, collecting keys to 15 cities, 19 proposals of marriage and an assortment of jewelry.