Sunday, January 31, 2016

"Guys and Dolls" Producer Samuel Goldwyn 1974 Forest Lawn Glendale Cemetery

Samuel Goldwyn (August 17, 1879 – January 31, 1974), also known as Samuel Goldfish, was a Jewish Polish American film producer. He was most well known for being the founding contributor and executive of several motion picture studios in Hollywood.[1] His awards include the 1973 Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award,[2] the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1947, and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1958.

Early life

Goldwyn was born Szmuel Gelbfisz in Warsaw, Kingdom of Poland, Russian Empire, to a Hasidic, Polish Jewish family. His parents were Aaron Dawid Gelbfisz (1852-1895), a peddler, and his wife, Hanna Reban (née Jarecka) (1855-1924).[3] At an early age, he left Warsaw on foot and penniless. He made his way to Birmingham, England, where he remained with relatives for a few years using the name Samuel Goldfish. He was 16 when his father died.

In 1898, he emigrated to the United States, but fearing refusal of entry, he got off the boat in Nova Scotia, Canada, before moving on to New York in January 1899. He found work in upstate Gloversville, New York, in the bustling garment business. Soon his innate marketing skills made him a very successful salesman at the Elite Glove Company. After four years, as vice-president for sales, he moved back to New York City and settled at 10 West 61st Street.[4]


In 1913, Goldwyn along with his brother-in-law Jesse L. Lasky, Cecil B. DeMille, and Arthur Friend formed a partnership, The Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company, to produce feature-length motion pictures. Film rights for the stage play The Squaw Man were purchased for $4,000 and Dustin Farnum was hired for the leading role. Shooting for the first feature film made in Hollywood began on December 29, 1913.[5]

In 1914, Paramount was a film exchange and exhibition corporation headed by W. W. Hodkinson. Looking for more movies to distribute, Paramount signed a contract with the Lasky Company on June 1, 1914 to supply 36 films per year. One of Paramount's other suppliers was Adolph Zukor's Famous Players Company. The two companies merged on June 28, 1916 forming The Famous Players-Lasky Corporation. Zukor had been quietly buying Paramount stock, and two weeks prior to the merger, became president of Paramount Pictures Corporation and had Hodkinson replaced with Hiram Abrams, a Zukor associate.[6]

With the merger, Zukor became president of both Paramount and Famous Players-Lasky, with Goldwyn being named chairman of the board of Famous Players-Lasky, and Jesse Lasky first vice-president. After a series of conflicts with Zukor, Goldwyn resigned as chairman of the board, and as member of the executive committee of the corporation on September 14, 1916. Goldwyn was out as an active member of management, although he still owned stock and was a member of the board of directors. Famous Players-Lasky would later become part of Paramount Pictures Corporation, and Paramount would become one of Hollywood's major studios.[7]

Goldwyn Pictures

In 1916, Goldwyn partnered with Broadway producers Edgar and Archibald Selwyn, using a combination of both names to call their movie-making enterprise Goldwyn Pictures. Seeing an opportunity, Samuel Gelbfisz then had his name legally changed to Samuel Goldwyn, which he used for the rest of his life. Goldwyn Pictures proved successful but it is their "Leo the Lion" trademark for which the organization is most famous.

On April 10, 1924, Goldwyn Pictures was acquired by Marcus Loew and merged into his Metro Pictures Corporation. Despite the inclusion of his name, Goldwyn had no role in the management or production at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Samuel Goldwyn Productions

Before the sale and merger of Goldwyn Pictures in April 1924, Goldwyn had established Samuel Goldwyn Productions in 1923 as a production-only operation (with no distribution arm). Their first feature was Potash and Perlmutter, released in September 1923 through First National Pictures. Some of the early productions bear the name "Howard Productions," named for Goldwyn's wife Frances Howard.

For 35 years, Goldwyn built a reputation in filmmaking and developed an eye for finding the talent for making films. William Wyler directed many of his most celebrated productions, and he hired writers such as Ben Hecht, Sidney Howard, Dorothy Parker, and Lillian Hellman. (According to legend, at a heated story conference Goldwyn scolded someone—in most accounts Mrs. Parker, who recalled he had once been a glove maker—with the retort: "Don't you point that finger at me. I knew it when it had a thimble on it!" Another time, when he demanded a script that ended on a happy note, she said: "I know this will come as a shock to you, Mr. Goldwyn, but in all history, which has held billions and billions of human beings, not a single one ever had a happy ending."[8])

During that time, Goldwyn made numerous films and reigned as the most successful independent producer in the US. Many of his films were forgettable; his collaboration with John Ford, however, resulted in Best Picture Oscar nomination for Arrowsmith (1931). William Wyler was responsible for most of Goldwyn's highly lauded films, with Best Picture Oscar nominations for Dodsworth (1936), Dead End (1937), Wuthering Heights (1939), The Little Foxes (1941) and The Best Years of Our Lives (1946). The leading actors in several of Goldwyn films, especially those directed by William Wyler, were also Oscar-nominated for their performances.

Throughout the 1930s, Goldwyn released all his films through United Artists, but beginning in 1941, and continuing almost through the end of his career, Goldwyn released his films through RKO Radio Pictures.


In 1946, the year he was honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, Goldwyn's drama The Best Years of Our Lives, starring Myrna Loy, Fredric March, Teresa Wright and Dana Andrews, won the Academy Award for Best Picture. In the 1950s Samuel Goldwyn turned to making a number of musicals including the 1952 hit Hans Christian Andersen (his last with Danny Kaye, with whom he had made many others), and the 1955 hit Guys and Dolls starring Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons, Frank Sinatra, and Vivian Blaine, which was based on the equally successful Broadway musical. This was the only independent film that Goldwyn ever released through MGM.

In his final film, made in 1959, Samuel Goldwyn brought together African-American actors Sidney Poitier, Dorothy Dandridge, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Pearl Bailey in a film rendition of the George Gershwin opera, Porgy and Bess. Released by Columbia Pictures, the film was nominated for three Oscars, but won only one. It was also a critical and financial failure, and the Gershwin family reportedly disliked the film and eventually pulled it from distribution. The film turned the opera into an operetta with spoken dialogue in between the musical numbers. Its reception was a huge disappointment to Goldwyn, who, according to biographer Arthur Marx, saw it as his crowning glory and had wanted to film Porgy and Bess since he first saw it onstage in 1935.


In 1957, Goldwyn was awarded the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for his outstanding contributions to humanitarian causes. On March 27, 1971, Goldwyn was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Richard Nixon.[9]


Goldwyn died at his home in Los Angeles in 1974 from natural causes, at the probable age of 94. He was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.[10] In the 1980s, Samuel Goldwyn Studio was sold to Warner Bros.. There is a theater named after him in Beverly Hills and he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1631 Vine Street.


From 1910 to 1915, Goldwyn was married to Blanche Lasky, a sister of Jesse L. Lasky. The marriage produced a daughter, Ruth. 

In 1925, he married actress Frances Howard to whom he remained married for the rest of his life. 

Their son, Samuel Goldwyn, Jr., would eventually join his father in the business.


Samuel Goldwyn's grandchildren include:

Francis Goldwyn, founder of the Manhattan Toy Company and Managing Member of Quorum Associates LLC 
Tony Goldwyn, actor, producer and director. currently starring as President Fitzgerald Grant III in Scandal (TV series) 
John Goldwyn, film producer Peter Goldwyn, the current vice-president of Samuel Goldwyn films 
Catherine Goldwyn, created Sound Art, a non-profit organization that teaches popular music all over Los Angeles 
Liz Goldwyn, has a film on HBO called Pretty Things, featuring interviews with queens from the heyday of American burlesque;[11][12] her book, an extension of the documentary titled, Pretty Things: The Last Generation of American Burlesque Queens, was published in October 2006 by HarperCollins.[13] 


Goldwyn's relatives include Fred Lebensold (see Lebensold Family), an award-winning architect (best known as the designer of multiple concert halls in Canada and the United States). Fred was the son of Sam's younger sister, Manya (who, despite the best efforts of Sam and his brother Ben in 1939 and 1940, could not be extricated from the Warsaw Ghetto and perished in the Holocaust).

The Samuel Goldwyn Foundation

Samuel Goldwyn's will created a multimillion-dollar charitable foundation in his name. Among other endeavors, the Samuel Goldwyn Foundation funds the Samuel Goldwyn Writing Awards, provided construction funds for the Frances Howard Goldwyn Hollywood Regional Library, and provides ongoing funding for the Motion Picture andTelevision Country House and Hospital. The Samuel Goldwyn Company Several years after the Sr. Goldwyn's death, his son, Samuel Goldwyn Jr., initiated an independent film and television distribution company dedicated to preserving the integrity of Goldwyn's ambitions and work. In 1997, the company's assets were acquired by MGM.


Samuel Goldwyn was also known for malapropisms, paradoxes, and other speech errors called 'Goldwynisms' ("A humorous statement or phrase resulting from the use of incongruous or contradictory words, situations, idioms, etc.") being frequently quoted. For example, he was reported to have said, "I don't think anybody should write his autobiography until after he's dead."[14] and "Include me out." Some famous Goldwyn quotations are misattributions. For example, the statement attributed to Goldwyn that "a verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on" is actually a well-documented misreporting of an actual quote praising the trustworthiness of a colleague: "His verbal contract is worth more than the paper it's written on." The identity of the colleague is variously reported as Joseph M. Schenk[15] or Joseph L. Mankiewicz[16] Goldwyn himself was reportedly aware of—and pleased by—the misattribution.

Upon being told that a book he had purchased for filming, The Well of Loneliness, couldn't be filmed because it was about lesbians, he reportedly replied: "That's all right, we'll make them Hungarians." The same story was told about the 1934 rights to The Children's Hour with the response "That's okay; we'll turn them into Armenians."[17] Upon being told that a dictionary had included the word "Goldwynism" as synonym for malapropism, he raged: "Goldwynisms! They should talk to Jesse Lasky!"

Having many writers in his employ, Goldwyn may not have come up with all of these on his own. In fact Charlie Chaplin took credit for penning the line, "In two words: im-possible"; and the quote, "the next time I send a damn fool for something, I go myself," has also been attributed to Michael Curtiz.

In the Grateful Dead's Scarlet Begonias,[18] the line "I ain't often right but I've never been wrong" appears in the bridge—this is very similar to Goldwyn's "I’m willing to admit that I may not always be right, but I am never wrong."


1. Obituary Variety, February 6, 1974, p. 63. 
2. Jang, Meena (January 31, 2015). "Samuel Goldwyn: Remembering the Movie Mogul on the Anniversary of His Death". The Hollywood Reporter.
3. "Goldwyn". 
4. A. Scott Berg, Goldwyn, a Biography 
5. A.Scott Berg, Goldwyn, a Biography. pp. 31–35, 41. 
6. A.Scott Berg, Goldwyn, a Biography. pp. 49, 58 
7. A.Scott Berg, Goldwyn, a Biography. pp. 58, 59, 63 
8. Silverstein, Stuart Y., ed. (1996, paperback 2001). Not Much Fun: The Lost Poems of Dorothy Parker. New York: Scribner. p. 42, n. 75. ISBN 0-7432-1148-0.
9. Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, Richard Nixon, 1971. 1971. p. 490. ISBN 0160588634.
10. Samuel Goldwyn at Find a Grave 
11. Pretty Things at the Internet Movie Database 
12. "Pretty Things". Liz Goldwyn Films.
13. Pretty Things: The Last Generation of American Burlesque Queens. Google Books. 
14. Quoted in Arthur Marx, Goldwyn: The Man Behind the Myth (1976), prologue. 
15. Paul F. Boller, John George, They Never Said It (1990), p. 42. 
16. Carol Easton, The Search for Sam Goldwyn (1976). 
17. These Three 18. "The Annotated "Scarlet Begonias"".

"Dead Reckoning" Actress Lizabeth Scott Dies at Cedars-Sinai 2015

Lizabeth Virginia Scott (September 29, 1922 – January 31, 2015) was an American film actress, known for her "smoky voice" and "the most beautiful face of film noir during the 1940s and 1950s." After understudying the role of Sabina in the original Broadway and Boston stage productions of The Skin of Our Teeth, she emerged internationally in such films as The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946), Dead Reckoning (1947), Desert Fury (1947) and Too Late for Tears (1949). Of her 22 feature films, she was leading lady in all but one. In addition to stage and radio, she appeared on television from the late 1940s to early 1970s.

Lizabeth Scott died of congestive heart failure at the age of 92 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center on January 31, 2015. Lizabeth Scott has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contribution to motion pictures at 1624 Vine Street in Hollywood.

"Ryan's Daughter" Actor Christopher Jones 2014 Hollywood Forever Cemetery

William Frank Jones, better known as Christopher Jones (August 18, 1941 – January 31, 2014), was an American stage, movie, and television actor from Jackson, Tennessee.[1]

Early life

He was born in Jackson, Tennessee, where his father was a grocery clerk and his mother Robbie was an artist. Jones father admitted her to the State Hospital in Bolivar, Tennessee, in 1945 for holding a gun to his head after he was caught being unfaithful. Jones and his brother were then placed in Boys Town in Memphis, where he became a fan of James Dean after being told he bore a resemblance to him. He then joined the Army, but went AWOL and after serving a sentence in a military prison he moved to New York where he began his acting career. His mother died when he was 19.[2]

Acting career

Jones (adopting the stage name Christopher) made his Broadway debut on December 17, 1961, in Tennessee Williams's The Night of the Iguana, directed by Frank Corsaro and starring Shelley Winters. Winters introduced Jones to actress Susan Strasberg, the daughter of Method acting progenitor Lee Strasberg. Jones later studied at Strasberg's Actors Studio. Despite friction with Lee, Jones married Susan in 1965. The couple had a daughter, Jennifer Robin Jones, in 1966, named as a tribute to actress Jennifer Jones.

Moving to Hollywood, Jones was cast in the title role of ABC's television series The Legend of Jesse James (produced by 20th Century Fox), which ran for 34 episodes in the 1965–66 season. When the series ended, he accepted the title role in the 1967 movie Chubasco, with Susan Strasberg playing his character's lover/wife. Their real marriage did not survive the filming, and they divorced in 1968.[3]

Jones's next acting role, as rock star and presidential aspirant Max Frost in the film Wild in the Streets (1968), costarring Shelley Winters, propelled him to the peak of his fame. 

He appeared later in the same year with Yvette Mimieux in the sex comedy Three in the Attic

Jones also became friends with actress Sharon Tate and her husband Roman Polanski. He later recounted that he had an affair with Tate while she was pregnant with Polanski's child and that she had a premonition of her death (she was murdered by members of the Manson family).[4]

After two films in Europe with Pia Degermark (The Looking Glass War and Brief Season, both 1969), Jones was cast by director David Lean in Ryan's Daughter (1970). The two men had a difficult relationship, as did many actors who worked with David Lean. This intensified when production of the film took 12 months instead of the expected six because David Lean would wait for the right composition of clouds or the perfect storm to brew. Unknown to Christopher, he was drugged during his filming of Ryan's Daughter by Sarah Miles, according to her first autobiography A Right Royal Bastard, which caused Christopher to believe he was having a breakdown. Jones also was involved in a car crash,[5] not knowing he had been drugged. The director and producers never informed him of the drugging. Later, Lean would dub his voice, causing a bad reputation for Jones (Beyond the Epic: The Life and Films of David Lean). This took a personal toll on Jones, who returned from Ireland to California after filming ended (staying for a time in his manager Rudy Altobelli's guest house, the cottage behind the house where Tate had died), and abandoned his acting career.[6] He engaged in a few long-term relationships, did painting, art deco, and Roman classic sculpting in clay and had a family life, living quietly at the beach with his children.

Later life

Jones was offered the part of Zed in Pulp Fiction (1994) by director Quentin Tarantino, but he turned it down.[7] He made a final screen appearance in crime comedy Mad Dog Time (1996) for his friend director/actor Larry Bishop, who appeared in Christopher's first movie Wild in the Streets. In his later years, he had a career as an artist and sculptor. His works included an oil painting of Rudolph Valentino that was displayed at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.[6]


Christopher Jones died on January 31, 2014, at the age of 72, due to complications arising from gallbladder cancer.[6] He is entombed at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. He is survived by seven children, Jennifer Strasberg, Christopher Jones Jr., Jeromy McKenna, Delon Jones, Tauer Jones, Calin Jones, and Seagen Jones.[1]


1. Vitello, Paul (February 8, 2014). "Christopher Jones, Actor who Quit Field, Dies at 72". The New York Times. 
2. Christopher Jones Biography at cinetropic
3. Jan E. Morris "Christopher Jones - Wild at Heart" 
4. Das, Linda. "The final affair of Roman Polanski's murdered wife Sharon Tate". Daily Mail. 
5. Phillips, Gene (2006). Beyond the Epic: The Life and Films of David Lean. p. 383. 
6. Barnes, Mike (February 1, 2014). "'Ryan's Daughter' Star Christopher Jones Dies at 72". The Hollywood Reporter. . 
7. Colker, David (February 4, 2014). "Christopher Jones dies at 72; actor quit at peak of career". The Los Angeles Times.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

"The Andrews Sister" Singer Patty Andrews 2013 Westwood Village Cemetery

The Andrews Sisters were an American close harmony singing group of the swing and boogie-woogie eras. The group consisted of three sisters: contralto LaVerne Sophia (July 6, 1911 – May 8, 1967), soprano Maxine Angelyn "Maxene" (January 3, 1916 – October 21, 1995), and mezzo-soprano Patricia Marie "Patty" (February 16, 1918 – January 30, 2013). 

Throughout their long career, the sisters sold well over 75 million records (the last official count released by MCA Records in the mid-1970s). Their 1941 hit "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" can be considered an early example of rhythm and blues or jump blues.


The Andrews Sisters' harmonies and songs are still influential today, and have been covered by entertainers such as Bette Midler, Christina Aguilera, and others. The group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998. Writing for Bloomberg, Mark Schoifet said the sisters became the most popular female vocal group of the first half of the 20th century. They are still widely acclaimed today for their famous close harmonies.


Patty Andrews married agent Marty Melcher in 1947 and left him in 1949, when he pursued a romantic relationship with Doris Day. She then married Walter Weschler, the trio's pianist, in 1951. 


Patty died of natural causes at her home in Northridge, California, on January 30, 2013 at the age of 94. Wechsler, her husband of nearly 60 years, died on August 28, 2010, at the age of 88. Patty is interred at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery with her husband. She is survived by her foster daughter Pam DuBois.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Burlesque Performer Lili St. Cyr Dies in Hollywood Apartment 1999

Lili St. Cyr (June 3, 1918 – January 29, 1999), was a prominent American burlesque stripteaser.[1][2][3][4]

Early years

Lili St. Cyr was born Willis Marie Van Schaack in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on June 3, 1918.[5][6][7] Her maternal half-sister, Rosemary Minsky (née Van Schaack; born 1924),[5][3] was also a burlesque stripteaser; Minsky appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2004.[8] The sisters, and Barbara Moffett, were raised by their grandparents, the Klarquists.[7]

Having taken ballet lessons throughout her youth, she began to dance professionally as a chorus line girl in Hollywood. Unlike other women who have stroke-of-luck stories about being plucked from the chorus line and selected for a feature role, St. Cyr had to beg her manager at the club to let her do a solo act. From her self-choreographed act she eventually landed a bit part at a club called the Music Box in San Francisco, with an act called the Duncan Sisters.[9] It was here that she found a dancer's salary was only a small fraction of what the featured star's salary was. The difference was that the featured star was nude.

From the 1940s and most of the 1950s, St. Cyr with Gypsy Rose Lee and Ann Corio were the most recognized acts in striptease.[10] St. Cyr's stage name is a patronymic of the French aristocracy, which she first used when booked as a nude performer in Las Vegas.[7] Although more obscure toward the end of her life, her name popped-up regularly in 1950s tabloids: stories of her many husbands, brawls over her, and her attempted suicides.

St. Cyr was married six times. Her best-known husbands were the motorcycle speedway rider Cordy Milne, musical-comedy actor and former ballet dancer Paul Valentine, restaurateur Armando Orsini, and actor Ted Jordan.[11]


Her reputation in a brash world of strippers was strictly high-class. She wasn't low-brow and bawdy like Rosa La Rose, who flashed her pubic hair.[12] St. Cyr started her professional career as a chorus line dancer at the Florentine Gardens, in Hollywood.[9] Two years later, her stripping debut was at the Music Box, in an Ivan Fehnova production. The producer had not even seen her perform—her striking looks were what won him over. The act was a disaster. Instead of firing her, Fehnova reconsidered and put together a new act. At the end of the dance, a stagehand would pull a fishing rod attached to St. Cyr's G-string. It would fly into the balcony and the lights would go dim. This famous act was known as "The Flying G," and such creative shows would be St. Cyr's trademark.[10] Over the ensuing years and in a variety of different venues, many of St. Cyr's acts were memorable, with names like "The Wolf Woman," "Afternoon of a Faun," "The Ballet Dancer," "In a Persian Harem," "The Chinese Virgin,"[9] as well as "Suicide" (where she tried to woo a straying lover by revealing her body), and "Jungle Goddess" (in which she appeared to make love to a parrot).[7] Props were integral to many of the women's acts. Lili was known not only for her bathtub, but elaborate sets of vanities, mirrors, and hat racks. She variously performed as Cinderella, a matador, a Salome, a bride, a suicide, Cleopatra and Dorina Grey.[12]


Lili St. Cyr received the title of the most famous woman in Montreal throughout the late 1940s into the 1950s.[13] However, Quebec's Catholic clergy condemned her act, declaring that whenever she dances "the theater is made to stink with the foul odor of sexual frenzy."[14] The clergy's outcry was echoed by the Public Morality Committee. St. Cyr was arrested and charged with behavior that was "immoral, obscene and indecent." She was acquitted but the public authorities eventually closed down the Gayety Theatre where she performed.[14] In 1982, St. Cyr wrote a French autobiography, Ma Vie de Stripteaseuse. (Éditions Quebecor). In the book, she declared her appreciation for the Gayety Theatre and her love for the city of Montreal.[15]

Hollywood: nightclubs, films and photographs

While performing at Ciro's in Hollywood (billed as the "Anatomic Bomb"), St. Cyr was taken to court by a customer who considered her act lewd and lascivious. Represented by the infamous Hollywood attorney Jerry Giesler [12] in court, St. Cyr insisted to the jury that her act was refined and elegant. As St. Cyr pointed out, what she did was slip off her dress, try on a hat, slip off her brassiere (there was another underneath), slip into a négligée. Then, undressing discreetly behind her maid, she stepped into a bubble bath, splashed around, and emerged, more or less dressed. After her appearance as a witness, as a newspaper account of the time put it, "The defense rested, as did everyone else."[7] After just 80 minutes of deliberation by the jury,[12] St. Cyr was acquitted.

While St. Cyr starred in several movies, an acting career never really materialized. In 1955, with the help of Howard Hughes, St. Cyr landed her first acting job in a major motion picture in the Son of Sinbad. The film, described by one critic as "a voyeur's delight,"[7] has St. Cyr as a principal member of a Baghdad harem populated with dozens of nubile starlets. The film was condemned by the Catholic Legion of Decency.[7] 

St. Cyr also had a role in the movie version of Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead in 1958.[16] In this film, St. Cyr plays 'Jersey Lili,' a stripper in a Honolulu night-club and girlfriend of a soldier who boasts to his pals that he has her picture painted inside his groundsheet. Heavy edits of St. Cyr's night-club routine by censors result in some choppy editing in an otherwise finely crafted film. But St. Cyr's movie career was short lived, and typically she settled for playing a secondary role as a stripper, or playing herself. Her dancing is featured prominently in two Irving Klaw films, Varietease and Teaserama.

St. Cyr was also known for her pin-up photography, especially for photos taken by Bruno Bernard, known professionally as "Bernard of Hollywood," a premier glamor photographer of Hollywood's Golden Era. Bernard said that she was his favorite model and referred to her as his muse.[17]


Lili blew through the thousands she earned weekly during her heyday. Many women like Lili were not supported by their husbands or family. [12] St. Cyr retired from the stage in the 1970s, whereupon she began a lingerie business in which she would retain an interest until her death. Similar to Frederick's of Hollywood, the "Undie World of Lili St. Cyr" designs offered costuming for strippers, and excitement for ordinary women. Her catalogs featured photos or drawings of her modeling each article, lavishly detailed descriptions, and hand-selected fabrics. Her marketing for "Scantie-Panties" advertised them as "perfect for street wear, stage or photography."[2][4][7] Her later years were "quiet—just her and some cats in a modest Hollywood apartment."[18]


St. Cyr died in Los Angeles, California, at her Hollywood apartment on January 29, 1999, aged 80; under her birth name, Willis Marie Van Schaack.[5][4] She never had any children, but told Mike Wallace in an October 5, 1957, interview that had she wanted children she would have adopted.[19] She was cremated. Her ashes were scattered at an unknown location, maybe her home. 


Following her death, and a renewed interest in burlesque, especially in Bettie Page, legions of new fans began rediscovering some of the dancers in Irving Klaw's photos and movies. During this time, A and E devoted a special to burlesque in 2001 which included a piece on St. Cyr.[20]

Influences and cultural references

St. Cyr is famously referenced in two different songs that were both stage and movie musicals. In the song "Zip" from the 1940 musical Pal Joey by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, the singer (reporter/would-be stripper Melba Snyder) rhetorically asks at the climax of the song "Who the hell is Lili St. Cyr?" [i.e., what has she got that I don't have?]. Meanwhile, in the 1975 musical The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the final line of the song "Don't Dream It" (sung by the character Janet Weiss, as played by Susan Sarandon) is "God bless Lili St. Cyr!"

In 1981, actress Cassandra Peterson became famous for her character Elvira, who achieved her trademark cleavage wearing a Lili St. Cyr deep plunge bra.

In 1989, one of St. Cyr's husbands, Ted Jordan, wrote a biography of Marilyn Monroe entitled Norma Jean: My Secret Life with Marilyn Monroe (New York, William Morrow and Company, 1989), in which Jordan claimed that St. Cyr and Monroe had an affair. The claim is both widely disparaged by Monroe's biographers and widely upheld by St. Cyr's. Liza Dawson, editor for William Morrow, publisher of the Jordan book, makes a related claim in an interview with Newsday in 1989. Dawson stated that "Marilyn very much patterned herself on Lili St. Cyr—her way of dressing, of talking, her whole persona. Norma Jean was a mousy, brown-haired girl with a high squeaky voice, and it was from Lili St. Cyr that she learned how to become a sex goddess."[7]

The song, "Lily Sincere" on the 2009 Kristeen Young album, Music for Strippers, Hookers, and the Odd On-Looker is an homage to Lili St. Cyr.

In 2010, Elvis Costello's title track of his album National Ransom mentions "And Millicent St. Cyr" in its introduction. See liner notes for full lyrics.


Love Moods (1952) 
Bedroom Fantasy (1953) 
Striporama (1953) 
Varietease (1954) 
Teaserama (1955) 
Son of Sinbad (1955) 
Buxom Beautease (1956) 
The Naked and the Dead (1958) 
I, Mobster (1958) 
Runaway Girl (1962)


1. Zemeckis, Leslie (2015). Goddess of Love Incarnate (first ed.). California: Counterpoint Press. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-61902-656-8. 
2. Barovick, Harriet; Gray, Tam; Lofaro, Lina; Levy, Daniel; Spitz, David; Tartakovsky, Flora; Taylor, Chris (February 15, 1999). "Died.". Time. Lili St. Cyr, 80, B-movie actress and stripper of the '40s and '50s, famous for her onstage bubble baths; in Los Angeles. Long before the advent of Victoria's Secret, St. Cyr ran a mail-order lingerie company featuring, among other items, "scanti-panties." 
3. "Lili St. Cyr; Captivating Striptease Artist of '40s and '50s". Los Angeles Times. February 4, 1999. Lili St. Cyr, the striptease artist of the 1940s and '50s who mesmerized audiences with her onstage bubble baths and then moved to Hollywood to star in B movies and sell mail-order lingerie, has died. She was 80. St. Cyr, a sexy blond vamp who served as a role model for Marilyn Monroe, died Friday in her Los Angeles home, said her sister, Rosemary Minsky. Born Willis Marie Van Schaack in Minneapolis, St. Cyr studied ballet and worked as a chorus girl before making her breakthrough in vaudeville as an ecdysiast. Her exotic stage name and fame ranked with those of Blaze Starr, Tempest Storm and Gypsy Rose Lee. 
4. "Lili St. Cyr". Associated Press. February 5, 1999. Lili St. Cyr, a striptease performer of the 1940s and 1950s whose act included onstage bubble baths, has died at age 80. Ms. St. Cyr died Friday at her home, said her sister, Rosemary Minsky. No cause of death was given. Born Willis Marie Van Schaack in Minneapolis, Ms. St. Cyr studied ballet and worked as a chorus girl before making her breakthrough in vaudeville as a striptease artist. She performed at burlesque houses from Montreal to Boston, Seattle and Hollywood. 
5. "Lili St. Cyr, 80, Burlesque Star Famous for Her Bubble Baths". The New York Times. February 6, 1999. Lili St. Cyr, the tall, blond beauty who left almost nothing to the imagination when she stepped dripping wet out of her signature onstage bubble bath, died on Jan. 29 at her apartment in Hollywood. She was 80. In a field that began when a Syrian beauty who called herself Little Egypt danced her way into legend at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, Miss St. Cyr was a master of elegant invention. Her well-choreographed acts included portrayals of famous seductresses, few of whom could hold a candle to Miss St. Cyr. ... For all that, her six husbands included a waiter, a dancer, a sometime actor and the restaurateur Armando Orsini, who got his start with financing from Miss St. Cyr. ... She is survived by a sister, Rosemary Minsky of Los Angeles. 
6. Social Security Death Index; Willis Marie VanSchaack; born June 3, 1918; 553-28-1817. 
7. "Obituary: Lili St Cyr". The Independent. February 8, 1999. Archived from the original on 2007-12-10. Lili St Cyr was actually Willis Marie Van Schaack, born in Minneapolis in 1918. She adopted a patronymic of the French aristocracy when first booked as a nude performer in Las Vegas, having studied ballet and worked as a chorus girl. She established her reputation as an ecdysiast with a long tenure at the Gaiety burlesque house in Montreal. As the Montreal Gazette was to recall in 1996 when the theatre re-opened, "That midwinter night in 1944 was the beginning of Lili St. Cyr's seven-year reign as Montreal's most famous woman, the city femme fatale, a person whose name invoked sophistication, mystery, sin and - for many males - instant arousal." Among the innovations she brought to her act was a variation in precedence, emerging on stage in minimal attire then putting her clothes on. She also played various characters in order, she said, to present herself in "interesting roles". 
8. Rosemary Minsky on Ellen, 2004. 
9. "Lili St. Cyr". Club Pinup. Archived from the original on August 25, 2007. 
10. Lili St. Cyr - Biography 
11. "Married". Time. March 7, 1955. . Lili St. Cyr (real name: Marie van Schaack), 36, blonde stripteaser; and Ted Jordan, 28, Hollywood and Broadway bit actor (The Caine Mutiny Court Martial); she for the fifth time, he for the third; in Las Vegas, Nevada. 
12. Zemeckis, Leslie (2013), Behind The Burly Q, Delaware: Skyhorse, ISBN 978-1-62087-691-6 
13. "Sex and the city". 
14. Important Dates in Burlesque History 
15. "bio.html". Archived from the original on 20 December 2008. 
16. "Decoded". Time. November 3, 1958. Retrieved 2007-08-21. The Naked and the Dead, in which Stripper Lili St. Cyr gets about halfway through her act before the cops raid the joint. 
17. "Java's Bachelor Pad: Lili St. Cyr".  
18. "Assorted photos of Lili St. Cyr". 
19. "Lili St. Cyr: The Mike Wallace Interview". 
20. "It's Burlesque (TV Movie 2001)". IMDb. 3 January 2016.