Gypsy Rose Lee

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 by Hella Goode

“You Can’t Have Everything.” Maybe Gypsy Rose Lee heard this a few times in her life. After all, this Aquarius, born Rose Louise Hovick on Thursday, February 9, 1911 in Seattle, (although later she would claim to have been born three years after in 1914). Circumstances and opportunities for women at the time were scarce. It seemed the stage, however, was the exception. Rose’s mother, also named Rose, got her daughters involved in vaudeville at an early age. For Gypsy Rose Lee, her vaudeville experience got her experienced in other ways as she later gave birth to a daughter, fathered by a vaudeville boy. Many years later she also had a son with director, Otto Preminger.

Her lifetime was spotted with brief marriages such as to Robert Mizzy, Alexander Kirkland, and Julio De Diego. Gypsy Rose Lee was much more successful in entertainment than in love. Like the name of her comedy film debut in 1937, “You Can’t Have Everything,” she learned that there were ways to get close enough to it. She was a wildly famous burlesque dancer at Minsky’s a few years and then went on to pursue writing and acting, appearing in such films as “My Lucky Star and “Ali Baba Goes to Town,” among others. Her novel “The G-string Murders” became an Academy Award nominated movie called “Lady of Burlesque.” She also penned “Mother Finds a Body” and the play, “Doll Face,” and starred in musicals.

She took in her last breath in the entertainment capital, LA, on April 26, 1970, succumbing to cancer, but her work showed women that there is always a way to find what you need and to do it with style.

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