The Ghost of Olive Thomas

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Olive Thomas in April 1916 looking into a mirror with a glimpse of the photographer

In the Ziegfeld Follies, they once sang “A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody,” but the people who frequent the New Amsterdam Theatre might beg to differ. The theatre is said to be haunted by Olive Thomas, a former Ziegfeld girl. Olive was a silent film star whose career started off with the Ziegfeld Follies and the more risqué version, The Midnight Frolic. Olive died in 1920 during her second honeymoon with her husband Jack Pickford. She was 25 years old. The cause of her death was ruled to be “accidental poisoning,” although this was heavily disputed at the time because she and her husband were known for their partying.

After her mysterious death, workers at the theatre claimed to have seen Olive backstage throughout the 1920s. The theatre went underused for a period of time but after Disney acquired it in the 1990s, sightings of Olive continued. One of the workers at the theatre decided to embrace their friendly ghost (probably to stay on her good side). He placed photos of Olive backstage so the workers were sure to greet her.

If you’re planning on going to see Aladdin at the New Amsterdam Theatre any time soon, there probably isn’t much reason to worry. The workers at the theatre say that Olive usually only stirs up trouble after the crowds leave and that she is generally a friendly ghost, anyways. Isn’t it cool they can say they have an original Ziegfeld girl keeping the theatre’s history alive? We think so!