Lili St Cyr was one of the most famous Burlesque performers along with Gypsy Rose Lee and Ann Corio. These three woman were among the most legendary strippers of all time. She also performed a striptease on Varietease, featuring Bettie Page. She was also a pin-up model.
St Cyr came from a dance background, she performed Ballet from a young age and then on to chorus lines. Once she was performing solo acts, then the evolution into Burlesque began. One of her most famous acts was the bath tub routine (see centre picture) were St Cyr would strip then luxuriate in a beautiful bath; Dita Von Teese has since done her own versions of St Cyr’s signature act. St Cyr also appeared in the Howard Hughes film ‘Son of Sinbad’ unsurprisingly she played a member of an Iraqi harem. Needless to say that the Catholic Legion of Decency were appalled with the picture and labelled it ‘a voyeur’s delight’.
Like all other Burlesque dancers of the 40’s and 50’s, St Cyr was arrested many time for public lewdness. She was also sued by a spectator who complained about the lewdness of her show. Seems strange that a person who goes to a Burlesque show should be offended by the nature of the show, when to main reason to go to a Burlesque show IS to see a woman take off her clothes! She was acquitted. After hanging up her G-string, she created her own line of lingerie ‘Undie World of Lili St Cyr’
Unfortunately, her private life was not as fruitful as her professional life. She had a series of failed marriages and became a heroin addict. She was extremely beautiful, with a magnificent body and moved with such grace. Hopefully she is tantalising a captive audience in heaven.