Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Gypsy Rose Lee



For those who don't know, I am a freelance journalist until I can find a more permanent position. It has kept my foot in the door, since I got laid off from the newspaper one year ago.

I recently got the chance to review the stage production of Gypsy here in town. The musical was spectacular. Rian and I were very impressed. It also made me incredibly interested in the real-life woman it is based upon: Gypsy Rose Lee, one of history's sexiest women.



Gypsy Rose Lee was born in Seattle in 1911. She had a younger sister named June. The girls' mother, Rose, was a heinous stage mother who forced her daughters into vaudeville. She took them all over the United States, desperately trying to make them child stars. She wanted fame and she wanted fortune.



Their mother had always dreamed of being a famous actress when she was younger, but never made it. So, she was forcing her dream on her children.

Unfortunately, it didn't pan out. June, miserable with the situation, eloped at the age of 15. Gypsy Rose didn't have the same dancing and singing talent as her sister, much to her mother's dismay.

In her teens, it became apparent that Gypsy Rose had a knack for burlesque.



She quickly became the world's most famous striptease artist. Her wit, class, and sharp sense of humor made her a huge star.



She also wrote mystery novels and acted in movies on the side.



She had a complicated love life. For example, to make the man she loved jealous, she married another guy. Then, while married to that guy, she got pregnant with another guy's baby! (And that was the drama surrounding just ONE of her eventually three marriages).



As an adult, Gypsy Rose and her sister continued to get demands for money from their mother, Rose, who ended up running a boarding house for women in NYC.

Things took a turn for the worse when Rose shot and killed one of her guests (her female lover!) who had reportedly made a pass at Gypsy Rose. The incident was explained as a suicide and Rose was not prosecuted.



Rose died of cancer in 1954.

After Rose's death, Gypsy Rose felt free to write her memoirs about life with her crazy showbiz mama.



The memoirs were eventually turned into the huge Broadway success, Gypsy.

Unfortunately, June was upset at the way she was portrayed in the musical and the two sisters stop speaking to each other.

When Gypsy Rose was eventually diagnosed with cancer herself, in 1969, she reconciled with her sister. She died a year later.



If you're interested in the musical Gypsy, there is a film version out there, starring (coincidentally) Natalie Wood. I have not seen it yet, but it is quite famous. I'm going to watch it later this week. I hope you will too!

66 comments:

Asta said...

interesting..i will look out for the movie.

take care,
Asta
http://cactusandcucumber.blogspot.com/

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Packing huge sex appeal and mystique. The two go together, I guess.

StyleID said...

Sounds like a story to see. I will definitely look for the movie.
Its interesting to see how many people with LOTS of talent have a messy personal life .... I wonder, is it the talent that 'steals' away from that 'emotional intelligence' or simply 'bad luck' (which I don really believe in) ....
She was gorgeous as well.


http://styleidnet.blogspot.com/
http://www.filomenascloset.com/

JUST ME said...

Most Broadway people swoon over this play - if it's done right. It had a lot of edge for its time...and who doesn't like burlesque, right??

I think Bette Midler is redoing either the film or the play, and is going to be playing Mama Rose. Should be epic.

Elaine said...

Wow, that definitely sounds interesting! I've never heard of her before.

Andrés Corella said...

What a beautiful post..I love Gypsy..."...and he was saying to me..Rose! Get yourself some new orchestrations, new routines and red velvet curtains, get a feather hat for the baby, photograph in front of the theatre.." That is one of my all time Musical favourite songs

xx
Andy
The Black Label

Belly B said...

I love all your short biographies about amazing people I never knew about. So informative!

<3 Belly B

David L Macaulay said...

there's much to be said for a knack for burlesque. Nice post, Jen. Sorry to depress re inflatable gorillas. I'm sure the gym will work out in the long run (as I keep telling myself, lol)

Dolls Factory said...

streeptease and writing novels?? wow I didn't know her but now thanks to you I've discovered her. Thanks fro sharing.

Mallory In New York said...

That sounds amazing! I've actually never heard of her before this point, but I'm definitely interested now... I'll have to track down that movie!!

I'm following & I'd love if you could follow back!!

http://malloryinnewyork.blogspot.com

Nicole said...

What a great post.. I really want to watch the movie!

By the way, thanks for your lovely comment!

Nicole
www.simple-fabulous.blogspot.com

Carrie said...

Again, that was fabulous! Love the info about Gypsy Rose Lee! Really great post!
XO Carrie
www.carriefabulous.com

Damsels said...

im drawn to her life as well. it sounds so glamorous . being a sexy star with men going wild for you . we've all dreamed of it .

Jlo said...

Very Bold personality, Love your selections of photos! <3 Thanks for the lovely comments on my blog :D Am following your blog now, I would be more than happy if you could follow mine :D

XoXo

http://pretzyness.blogspot.com

LiezyL said...

i love your job! and your blog posts really inspires me!

Francesca R said...

That's an amazing post!!!
I've seen the movie!
xx
http://dontcallmefashionblogger.blogspot.com

Josie said...

I must check out the movie -- she sounds so interesting.
xo Josie
www.winksmilestyle.com

Fashion, Art and other fancies said...

Bold, daring, mysterious and dramatic - living only for pleasure and drama - talent and drama are constant companions. I adore burlesque;-)

FashionJazz said...

It sounds like a really good movie :) Will look out for it. Hope you have a lovely Thursday xx

i love mochi said...

lovely photos, very interesting!

http://ilovemochi.blogspot.com/

Samantha said...

Sounds interesting! Even if she couldn't really sing or dance, Gypsy Rose seemed pretty multitalented though with burlesque, writing, and acting!

Thanks for visiting my blog! :o)

-Samantha

http://thisfashionista.blogspot.com

Vero said...

thanks for your comment!!:)
interesting post!!:)

Vanilla - notes from my closet said...

I will look out for the movie :) sounds really interesting :)

Love, Vanilla

http://notesfrommycloset.blogspot.com/

Jonna said...

Sounds interesting! I wanna see the movie :) x

Anna Lea Isabelle said...

Thank you. It was cool meeting him:) And yes, I am hoping for some more action in my life soon, haha.

I am actually going to be a journalist too. School starts this fall, and I am so exited!

peek-a-boo said...

Interesting post! Made me go and watch the movie!

Melanie's Randomness said...

You know I've heard of Gyspsy for years but really had no idea about it. What a beautiful woman. I love burlesque. I think its more sexy than the nudity of today's media. She shot someone? Okay i have to read her book! Thanks hun for the info! What an interesting lady! =)

Couture Carrie said...

Very cool bio and pics!
Will have to check out the musical!

xoxox,
CC

Lee Oliveira said...

I never heard of her before (sorry) but I will really dig more info about her.
Fabulous shots
Lee x

mirjam schuurkamp! said...

interesting girl!
amazing photos 2!
and thanks for the comment dear

NEW OUTFITPOST AT:
www.mirfashion.blogspot.com

Cafe Fashionista said...

Something tells me that I would absolutely adore this film - it sounds fantastic! What an incredible life she had! :)

Miksu said...

Sounds interesting, maybe I will check out the movie!

xx
absofuckinglutely

Ashley said...

Much love for the inimitable Gypsy Rose Lee! Have you ever heard The Distillers song with her namesake? I love your blog, and best wishes for all of your future endeavors:) xx

jos xx said...

this must be a great movie, the pictures are so beautiful!

jos xx

MG said...

Ok, I totally want to see the show now and read her book. What is all this "movie" talk that everyone is spewing?

The Tame Lion said...

Absolutely fantastic!
Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed the visit. :)

MissNeira said...

This is so cool, and so sexy!


Enter to win a $100 gift card Shopbop giveaway!
xoxo
Miss Neira

gleenn said...

I always enjoy your blog because your posts are very informative. I enjoy the musical Gypsy althoug I have to admit, I'm more fond of the Gypsy fashion ;)

Vintage Vixen said...

Fascinating post! I've heard of her but didn't know any of her background. What a brave and beautiful glamourpuss. xxx

chaoskontrolowany said...

Great post!:)

Sick by Trend said...

Interesting and beautiful post!

xx

www.sickbytrend.com

Olga said...

Great post! I really admire such free-spirited ladies. I didn't know about Gypsy Rose Lee. Thank you for helping me discover that name.

Bonnie said...

I love the fashion here. Is it weird that I wish I had a twin so one of us could be boring and normal and the other could enter the burlesque dancing world? I think I would fit in perfectly - minus the drugs, alcohol, and insanity. So really just for the dancing and fashion.

http://www.glamkittenslitterbox.com/
Twitter: @GlamKitten88

{Selma} Crazy Little World Of Mine said...

Awwww...love stories like this, although it always kind of makes me sad in the end. I knew parts of her story but this was a great refreshment for me. ;)

MARINA said...

thank you! :)

Sherin said...

Her story is pretty remarkable. Her mum sounds really crazy, but both sisters and mothers must have led an interesting life.
I want to watch this play now.

Marie said...

thanks for your comment :))

Julia, the Thanksgiving Girl said...

Wow, what a life story! Thanks for posting this, I enjoyed reading it. Not sure if I'll get arounf to watching the movie soon, but when I do it'll surely help to know the real story!

Tights Lover said...

Wow. What an amazing story. And you're not going to believe this, but I loved all the photos ;-).

ps. You're going to want to check out my blog tomorrow. It's a post on deeeee-licious traffic cones (AH approved, no less)...hahahaha! That comment is going to have me laughing to myself all day!

Venus In Virgo said...

I have always loved her! Thanks for writing this up and glad you got to see the production. Great article! XOXO

Rachel {Da Paura ♥} said...

Wow, this is fascinating! I am amazed at such a story. I will have to check it out.

I absolutely love your reviews...well I love everything you write actually. You are so talented and always keep me on the edge of my seat.

xo
Rachel

Dahl said...

Gosh her life sounds so interesting!! It's confusing how her mother shares the same name as her, just without the Gypsy part. I'm always reminded of the song "Let Me Entertain You" when I hear about Gypsy Rose, I sang that song at a theatre camp I went to when I was younger, and I didn't exactly understand what a stripper was at the time...

Lisa said...

Ohhh I love gyspy rose lee!!! She's so sensual and sexy I would have loved tonsee thisnproduction!!!

Haha you crack me up your so silly.. But thank you you are the queen of fabulous so if you say I'm fabulous then who am I to object haha :)

Sisters and Sisters said...

Sound like a great movie.
Beautiful photos!



XoXo
H&C from Amsterdam
www.sistersandsisters.com

Laura Sherriffs said...

I love all these interesting people you write abbout on our blog! fantastic!

http://fight-fires-in-your-best-clothes.blogspot.com

Amy said...

How fun to write a review! Probably makes you look at the play in ways you wouldn't have as a normal spectator.

Style, She Wrote said...

Gorgeous woman. She had such style. xo style, she wrote

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

What an interesting and crazy life!

xoxo,
Chic 'n Cheap Living

WritingNut said...

This sounds like a very interesting play... she had quite a life! :)

Missy said...

oh I love this! Fab pics x

Missy
http://thefashionfusion.blogspot.com

Dilan Dilir said...

great post!

lifeontherocks said...

sounds interesting. will watch out for the movie

solerso said...

"She quickly became the world's most famous striptease artist. Her wit, class, and sharp sense of humor made her a huge star. "

you left a couple things out

stephanie said...

Gypsy has been one of my favourite movies since I was too young to know what a striptease was. I grew up on the original movie and in the early 90's they remade it with Bett Middler. It is fantastic. You should check that one out.

Anonymous said...

Very good movie. I watch it when ever it is shown. I wish the movie had been done later so it could have been more true. But times being what they were it was very clean for what the story called for. Great performance by Natalie Wood.

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