Monday, May 25, 2009

Blaze Starr - Big Bust Burlesque Legend

Blaze Starr was born as Fannie Belle Fleming in Wayne County, West Virginia 1932. Starr moved to Washington D.C. at the age sixteen, where Red Snyder became Fleming's first manager, encouraged her to start stripping, and gave her the stage name Blaze Starr. According to some sources Starr left him after he tried to rape her.

Starr moved to Baltimore, Maryland, eventually becoming a headliner at the Two O'Clock Club nightclub. She gained some national publicity and rose to fame after she was profiled in a February 1954 Esquire Magazine article, "B-Belles of Burlesque: You Get Strip Tease With Your Beer in Baltimore." She started to travel and perform in clubs throughout the country, but The Two O'Clock Club remained her home base.

Starr's striking red hair, voluptuous figure and on-stage enthusiasm were a large part of her appeal. Well, the largest part was of course her large bosom. The theatrical flourishes and unique gimmicks she used in her stage show went beyond established burlesque routines like the fan dance and balloon dance. Perhaps her most famous prop was a couch that she rigged to smolder and then appear to burst into flame as she sat on it and undressed.

In the late 1950s, while working at the Sho-Bar on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, Louisiana, Starr began a long-term affair with then-governor Earl Long. The 1989 movie Blaze recounts the story of their relationship. It was directed by Ron Shelton, adapted by him from Starr's 1974 memoir Blaze Starr: My Life as Told to Huey Perry. Lolita Davidovich portrays Starr in the movie, and Paul Newman plays Long. Starr herself appears in a cameo.

Starr was featured in couple of movies during her active years, 1956 compilation film Buxom Beautease, produced and directed by Irving Klaw, features two of Star's performances. Director Doris Wishman's 1962 film Blaze Starr Goes Nudist, a nudie-sexploitation film, features Starr's one lead movie role. As the title suggests, she plays herself. The film is also known as Blaze Starr Goes Back to Nature, Blaze Starr Goes Wild, Blaze Starr the Original, and Busting Out.

Starr eventually bought the Two O'Clock Club on The Block in Baltimore, which she still owns and manages.

1 comment:

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