Biography

Gypsy Rose Lee: Naked Ambition (1 Jan. 1996)

TV Episode  -   -  Documentary | Biography | History
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Gypsy Rose Lee become the most famous stripper in the world and as known as the Queen of Striptease. Feature interview of her only son and home movie clip of her.

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Title: Gypsy Rose Lee: Naked Ambition (01 Jan 1996)

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Cast

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Herself (archive footage)
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Himself
Erik Lee Preminger ...
Himself (as Erik Preminger)
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Himself
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Michael Todd Jr. ...
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Gypsy Rose Lee become the most famous stripper in the world and as known as the Queen of Striptease. Feature interview of her only son and home movie clip of her.

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1 January 1996 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

 
Rose Louise Hovick Improvises for Prosperity
30 May 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Linda Emond narrates this account of the life and career of Rose Louise Hovick, elder daughter of newspaper advertising salesman and reporter John Olaf Hovick, and ambitious stage mother Rose Evangeline Thompson Hovick, who dumps John Olaf once second daughter, Ellen Evangeline is born, two years after the first, to take the babies on the Vaudeville circuit, to spotlight younger daughter's dancing talents, billing her as "Dainty June."

Of course, Dainty June goes on from here to become actress/dancer/author/director June Havoc, and Rose Louise goes on to become entertainer/presenter/author Gypsy Rose Lee, each in famous fashion.

But this attempts to separate some of the many myths from the facts of the story of the definitive stage mother and her obedient daughters, who each appreciates her audiences in theatre and other media.

And while it's certainly very nice and informative to hear from family members, friends and professional associates who know these "Biography" subjects very well, this episode adds the extra special touch of interviewing Gypsy's only child, Erik Lee Preminger, and June's only child, April Hyde, who each presents an informative and objective account of their infamous grandmother, "Mama Rose," as well as, of course, Gypsy.

This studies the sisters' early years in Vaudeville, as the tomboyish "Louise" supports in a male role "Dainty June and Company," later "Dainty June and Her Newsboy Songsters," while Mama Rose pretends to be the daughter's schoolteacher, to elude authorities, while carrying around multiple "birth certificates" for the underage sisters Hovick.

This also suggests that Mama Rose instills a life-long feud between the sisters (instead of the temporary feud over the fictionalizing of their history for the later Musical).

But when the talented June leaves the act in 1929 to marry Bobby Reed, Vaudeville, too, is on its way out of popularity with the advent of "Talkies," and so Mama Rose depends upon Louise to reinvent her act, in the still-popular "Burlesque" at NYC's "Gayety Theatre."

Louise, who has spent part of her time reading tea leaves, has by now become known as Gypsy, her new stage name to enter the stripping clubs.

But on the evening of her debut, Gypsy freezes before the audience and can't seem to lower her shoulder strap, which causes the audience to roar with laughter, under the impression that Gypsy presents a brand new comedy act, which she, from here, works into her routine, to become the most famous "stripper" in the country.

Gypsy's rise to popularity takes her back to the legitimate theatre, incorporating the rising star into "Ziegfeld Follies of 1936," while June continues to make a name for herself as a proficient dancer during the 1930's, and as a film actress during the 1940's, when Gypsy is presented in prestigious circles, which do not socialize with the everyday stripper.

Gypsy receives a five-picture contract to act and to sing with 20th Century Fox, as studio chief Darryl F. Zanuck attempts to cash in on her popularity as a stripper. But he changes her screen name back to Louise Hovick and tones down her image, to appear wholesome, which seems ironic to many if 20th is trying to bank on her Burlesque fame.

But while Mama Rose continues to live from her daughter's earnings in extravagant fashion, even going to the point of blackmailing them to increase her funds, Gypsy remains frugal throughout her life, taking son, Erik, along to put him to work as a child, and attaching a trailer to her Rolls-Royce, to fix their own meals on the road.

This episode continues to report upon Gypsy's life in Hollywood and beyond, which includes her marriages and career on stage, in film, on television, and in penning her famous memoir, which becomes adapted as stage and film Musical "Gypsy."

Gypsy's marriages are with Robert Mizzy (1937–41), Alexander Kirkland (1942–44), and Julio De Diego (1948–55). With Director Otto Preminger, she welcomes son, Erik Lee (b. 1944).

Interview Guests for this episode consist of Erik Lee Preminger (Son), April Hyde (Niece, a.k.a. April Reed, April Kent), Erica Dorf (Gypsy's Assistant), Rachel Shteir (Biographer), Phyllis Diller (Entertainer), Billy Barty (Actor/Vaudeville Performer), Steve Allen (Entertainer), Red Buttons (Entertainer), Arthur Laurents (Playwright), Hugh Hefner (Publisher), Hillard Elkins (Producer), Miles Kreuger (Producer), and Michael Todd, Jr. (Producer).

Archive footage includes appearances by Gypsy Rose Lee, Darryl F. Zanuck, NYC Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, Mike Hyde, Sr., Jerome Robbins, Ethel Merman, Natalie Wood, Karl Malden, Rosalind Russell and Liberace.

Film and Television Clips include a screen glimpse of Gypsy through the years, in scenes from "Ali Baba Goes to Town" (1937), "Battle of Broadway" (1938), NYC World's Fair (1939), "Star and Garter" (Broadway, 1942-43), and "Gypsy" (Talk Show, 1965).


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