Rose Louise Hovick Improvises for Prosperity
WeatherViolet from United States
30 May 2010
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
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
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
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 (193741), Alexander Kirkland
(194244), and Julio De Diego (194855). 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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