Like Holiday, Billie Dove also reinvented her name. According to the Independent, she was born Lillian Bohny in New York City in 1903. Some reports indicate her first name was originally Bertha, but she later changed it to Lillian. For unknown reasons, the other girls on her sports team called her “Billie,” and the nickname clearly stuck. Known for her beauty, Dove became an artist’s model in her early teens (via IMDb). One such artist called her the “The Dove” because “she was so lovely, yet so shy.” Thus, Billie Dove was born. 

Although she began her career in the famed Ziegfeld Follies, the Hollywood Walk of Fame reports that she moved to Hollywood in the 1920s. She subsequently became a silent film star and dated Howard Hughes for several years. Even with her incredibly successful film career and legions of fans, Dove retired from acting in 1932. 

In her biography, “Lady Sings the Blues,” Holiday later said, “I don’t think I missed a single picture Billie Dove ever made. I was crazy for her” (per Biography). Holiday died at the age of 44 from cirrhosis of the liver in 1959 (via The Library of Congress). As for Dove, she died in 1997, outliving Holiday by nearly four decades.

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