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‘May Your Bare Ass Always Be Shining’ – Eleanor Roosevelt Writes To Gypsy Rose Lee

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“If you’re Gypsy Rose Lee, all you have to do is keep your strength up so you can carry your money to the bank” – Gypsy Rose Lee

 

gypsy1949

 

In 1959, Eleanor Roosevelt, President Roosevelt’s ‘First Lady To the World’ and active civil rights campaigner, wrote to Gypsy Rose Lee, the burlesque superstar.

 

Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of President Franklin D Roosevelt, arriving at London Airport, April 3rd 1959. (Photo by J. Wilds/Keystone/Getty Images)

Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of President Franklin D Roosevelt, arriving at London Airport, April 3rd 1959. (Photo by J. Wilds/Keystone/Getty Images)

 

Lee’s fame was at its apogee. Her 1957 memoir Gypsy had been turned into the eponymous Broadway musical, which opened on May 21, 1959 at The Broadway Theatre,

 

1941 publicity photo for Gypsy Rose Lee’s first novel, The G-String Murders. | from Books for Victory: Burlesque Star Gypsy Rose Lee Boosts WWII Book Drive

1941 publicity photo for Gypsy Rose Lee’s first novel, The G-String Murders. | from Books for Victory: Burlesque Star Gypsy Rose Lee Boosts WWII Book Drive

 

Not all of Rose Lee’s books were equally successful. Although her 1941 pulp fiction murder mystery The G-String Murders formed the basis for the silver screen’s Lady of Burlesque (1943).

 

rose lee g-string

 

Here’s an extract:

“Finding dead bodies scattered all over a burlesque theater isn’t the sort of thing you’re likely to forget. As long as I live, I’ll remember seeing that bloated, bluish face, the twisted, naked body, and the glitter of a G-string hanging like an earring from the swollen neck.”

 

BARBARA STANWYCK AND LADY OF BURLESQUE

Barbara Stanwyk as the film’s Dixie Daisy

 

That book also inspired the 1978 wonder Neon Woman, starring the essential Divine:

 

rose lee divine neon

 

And so to the telegram, from one heroine of American freedom to another:

 
Eleanor Roosevelt bare ass Gypsy Rose Lee

“May your bare ass always be shining”

 

27th July 1951: US actress, entertainer and writer and infamous striptease artiste, Gypsy Rose Lee (born Louise Rose Hovick, 1914 - 1970). (Photo by Stroud/Express/Getty Images)

27th July 1951: US actress, entertainer and writer and infamous striptease artiste, Gypsy Rose Lee (born Louise Rose Hovick, 1914 – 1970). (Photo by Stroud/Express/Getty Images)