Lili St. Cyr Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (6)  | Trivia (13)  | Personal Quotes (1)  | Salary (2)

Overview (4)

Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA
Birth NameWillis Marie Van Schaack
Height 5' 9" (1.75 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Busty, highly painted blonde Lili St. Cyr was a notorious striptease artist of the 1940s and 1950s who replaced Gypsy Rose Lee and Ann Corio on the burlesque queen pedestal. Lili actually took the stripper out of burlesque and put her squarely on the Las Vegas stage. She was also noted for her pin-up photography, especially for photos taken by Bernard of Hollywood. She was married and divorced six times, including small-time actors Paul Valentine and Ted Jordan and well-known restaurateur Armando Orsini. Born Willis Marie Van Schaack on June 3, 1918, the Minneapolis-born entertainer's early life remains somewhat of a mystery. She was raised by her grandparents and had two sisters that went into show biz. Trained in ballet, Lili started out as a chorine at such notable places as the Florentine Gardens. She went on to develop and choreograph her own solo act while featuring herself in the nude. Lili's bare-all debut, at the Music Box, proved disastrous, so she put together a new act. She first became famous performing at the Gaiety Theater in Montreal in 1944. Her club acts quickly became the talk of the town as she would be seen taking a bath on stage or doing the reverse strip. One famous gimmick involved having her G-string, which was attached to a fishing rod, fly off into the balcony as the lights dimmed. This gimmick was known as the "Flying G," and other such novelty bits of business became trademarks as well. She eventually conquered Las Vegas, and it was there that she created her "bubble bath" bit on stage while being dressed by a maid for the crowd. Her notoriety eventually extended outside the U.S.; she was especially well received in Montreal. While Lili was featured in a couple of mainstream acting roles in movies, including The Miami Story (1954) and The Naked and the Dead (1958), she usually played a stripper or appeared as herself. Some short soft-core films which featured her dancing are more interesting today, such as the Irving Klaw film Varietease (1954). Lili's private life was a feast for the tabloids: six marriages, highly publicized brawls, and attempted suicides. She eventually tired of it all and retreated, starting up a Frederick's of Hollywood-like lingerie business. Her last decades were spent in virtual seclusion until her death on January 29, 1999.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (6)

Joe Zomar (30 October 1959 - 8 July 1964) ( divorced)
Ted Jordan (21 February 1955 - ?)
Armando Cocchi (Orsini) (December 1950 - 1954) ( divorced)
Paul Valentine (28 August 1946 - 26 September 1949) ( divorced)
Richard Hubert (1941 - ?)
Corydon C. (Cordy) Milne (25 July 1936 - 8 December 1938) ( divorced)

Trivia (13)

Said to have had romances with Orson Welles and Victor Mature, among others.
On trial in 1951 for "lewd and lascivious" performances, she volunteered to take a bath in the courtroom to prove her tastefulness. The judge demurred, and the jury declared her work to be "art."
She had six husbands.
Ex-husband/actor Ted Jordan wrote a biography of Marilyn Monroe in which he alleges that Lili and Monroe had an affair.
Her lingerie business, "The Undie World of Lili St. Cyr," designed and offered costuming for strippers as well as housewives. Her catalogs had Lili modeling every article, with descriptions and details.
In the cult movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), there is a scene in which the character Janet Weiss (Susan Sarandon) is swimming ecstatically in a pool, singing an ode to decadence. A line of her song goes: "God bless Lili St. Cyr!".
At the beginning of her career, Marilyn Monroe attended several of St. Cyr's burlesque shows, studying the way she moved her body, and later incorporated many of St. Cyr's moves as her own.
She was 80 at the time of her death, and was survived by a sister, Rosemary Minsky of Los Angeles.
Got her big break in Hollywood in 1951 when she was charged with indecent exposure during a bubble bath performance at Ciro's nightclub. By the time she beat the charge in court, the publicity had made her a headliner and led to a series of low-budget movies.
Moved to Pasadena, CA, when she was seven, dropped out of school after the ninth grade and was working as a waitress at a Chinese restaurant when she got her start as a showgirl.
At least until 1996 she maintained an interest in a lingerie shop on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles, CA.
Profiled in "The Bare Truth: Stars of Burlesque From the '40s and '50s" by Len Rothe. [1998]
Ecdysiast of the 1940's who appeared in a non-blue film or two.

Personal Quotes (1)

Sex is currency. What's the use of being beautiful if you can't profit from it?

Salary (2)

Love Moods (1952) $5,000
Striporama (1953) $3,500

See also

Other Works |  Publicity Listings |  Official Sites

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