Burlesque Star Of Russ Meyer Films Was 93 – Deadline

Tempest Storm, the often fiery-haired striptease artist, burlesque performer, star of Russ Meyer’s early films and later an icon of the rock generation, died Tuesday in her Las Vegas apartment. She was 93 years old.

His death was reported to Las Vegas Journal-Review by Harvey Robbins, longtime friend and business partner of Storm. Storm suffered from dementia and had recently had hip surgery.

Robbins was with Storm when she died, as was a nurse and Las Vegas burlesque performers Kalani Kokonuts and Miss Redd.

According to the Burlesque Hall of Fame, Storm was born Annie Blanche Banks in Eastman, Georgia, and at the age of 20, already married twice, moved to Hollywood. At first as a cocktail waitress, she quickly found work as a striptease artist at the Follies Theater. She adopted the stage name Tempest Storm in 1950 and, shortly after arriving in Los Angeles, became friends with her neighbor Marilyn Monroe.

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The list of famous acquaintances, friends and fans would continue to grow with Rat Pack superstars, classic rockers like the James Gang and, in the 21st century, musician Jack White.

By the mid-1950s, Storm had become an internationally renowned nightclub artist and featured in Meyer’s early exploitation films. Peep Show in French (1950), Paris after midnight (1951) and Striptease girl (1952). In 1955, she shared the screen with Bettie Page in the cult classic of Irving Klaw. Teaserama. The following year, Storm starred in Klaw’s Buxom Beauties.

Interview with Tempest Storm album cover (2011)

According to Revue-Journal, in 1956, Storm became the highest paid burlesque artist in history with a 10-year contract for $ 100,000 per year with burlesque production company Bryan-Engels. She first performed in Las Vegas in 1951, and in 1957 began performing at the Dunes Hotel and Casino. She made headlines on the Strip until the late 1980s.

Among her high-profile – or at least widely-known – lovers were Elvis Presley, Mickey Rooney, Louis Armstrong, Sammy Davis Jr., gangster Mickey Cohen, and even John F. Kennedy. She said in an interview once Frank Sinatra introduced her to the audience at a concert, saying, “She taught me how to dress,” and when the crowd cheered, Sinatra added, ” You thought I would say she taught me how to undress. ! “

Storm married Herb Jeffries, a jazz singer with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, in 1959, a marriage she said cost her a manager and a film career because Jeffries was black.

In 1973, Storm shared a tour with Joe Walsh’s leading rock band, the James Gang, which included a stop at Carnegie Hall in New York City. “It was the best,” she said later. “What a thrill.”

Storm, who moved to Las Vegas in 2005, gave her last performance in June 2010 at a reunion show at the Burlesque Hall of Fame. Later that night, she fractured her left hip, ending her appearances on stage, but in 2011 she was interviewed by rocker Jack White for an album titled Interview with Tempest Storm, published by White’s own company.

A documentary about his life, called Storm Storm: Queen Burlesque, directed by Nimisha Mukerji, released in 2016. Watch the trailer below.

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