Peggy Davis ~ The Tragic Vampire

Peggy Davis was a Ziegfeld Follies dancer who gave up her career before taking her

own life

Mary Margaret Laird was born on December 31, 1899 in Birmingham, Alabama. Her father, James Laird, was a traveling salesman and her family moved a lot. Ella peggy began singing and dancing as a child. She was discovered by actress Theda Bara, who cast her in the movie Under Two Flags. In November 1918 she married Joseph Davis but the marriage was annulled because he had never divorced his first wife. She was offered a contract at Christie Studios and she appeared in several comedies. She later joined the Ziegfeld Follies as a featured dancer. She was known in the theatrical world as “America’s First Vampire”. Ella peggy she claimed that she never drank or smoked cigarettes. On December 10, 1921, she married Joseph Donald Grafton, a Pennsylvania millionaire. She was shocked to learn that he was a bigamist who had married another woman three weeks before marrying her. Grafton was arrested for bigamy and his marriage was annulled.

He suffered a nervous breakdown in April 1922 and entered a sanatorium. Peggy herself worked as a cabaret dancer and co-starred in the 1923 film The Net. She was engaged to a stockbroker named Napoleon Worthington, but she broke up because her mother did not approve. In 1925 she married David Townsend, a wealthy Wall Street banker. The couple had a daughter named Margaret and moved to Paris, France. Peggy seemed to have a happy life but she suffered from mood swings. On the night of March 28, 1931, she wrote a note to her husband that read “I don’t want to go back on stage. I’m tired of living and I’d rather do it. Take care of my baby.” She then committed suicide by driving her car off a six hundred foot cliff. Peggy was only thirty-one years old. She was buried in Eze Cemetery in France. Her husband, David, said that he had no reason to kill himself and that he did not believe that her death was a suicide.

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