b. 14 August 1899, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, d. 17 March 1984, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA. Noted for her physical beauty, Terry was one of Florenz Ziegfeld’s girls, appearing in the Ziegfeld Follies. She was also in Honeydew (1920), which ran for 231 performances at the Casino Theatre. Produced by Joe Weber, the show’s music was by Efrem Zimbalist, book and lyrics by Joseph Herbert. Terry was then in the smash hit Kid Boots (1923), which starred Eddie Cantor in the title role and ran for 489 performances at the Earl Carroll and Selwyn theatres. With music by Harry Tierney and lyrics by Joseph McCarthy, Terry’s songs, in the role of Carmen Mendoza, included ‘The Same Old Way’, sung with Harry Fender, ‘A Play-Fair Man’, with Mary Eaton, Fender and Jack Rutherford, ‘When The Cocoanuts Call’ and ‘In The Swim’, both the latter sung with Beth Beri.
Terry had another huge success with the title role in Rio Rita (1927), which ran at the Ziegfeld, Lyric and Majestic theatres for a total of 494 performances. The songs were again by Tierney and McCarthy and she sang ‘Sweethearts’, ‘River Song’ and ‘Montezuma’s Daughter’, while with J. Harold Murray she sang the duets ‘If You’re in Love, You’ll Waltz’ and ‘Rio Rita’. Terry appeared in Nina Rosa (1930), which ran at the Majestic Theatre for 137 performances. Her co-star in this romantic tale set in the Peruvian Andes was Guy Robertson. The music was composed by Sigmund Romberg, lyrics by Irving Caesar and book by Otto Harbach. She is believed to have been a replacement cast member in Three Waltzes (1937), starring Kitty Carlisle and Michael Bartlett, which ran at the Majestic Theatre for 122 performances. The book was based by Clare Kummer and Rowland Leigh on a play by Paul Knepler and Armin Robinson. Directed by Hassard Short, the show’s music was by Johann Strauss I, Johann Strauss II, and Oscar Strauss, with lyrics by Kummer.
Terry married a Chicago millionaire but they separated in the early 30s and lived apart for many years before divorcing. In 1942 she married actor Dick Purcell but they split up after about three months with Purcell giving some indication of the actress’ volatility when he stated in his divorce petition that ‘It is no longer possible to live with her without seriously jeopardizing my health and well-being.’