I recently attended my 50th class reunion at St. George’s School. Everyone who could came; I think suddenly happy to be able to be seen.
No less, college memories are now distant memories. Blaze Starr was one. We were sailing at the Naval Academy in Annapolis. After dinner we headed for the “Block” in Baltimore. The photo of Blaze is the only proof I have that we were actually there.
Blaze Starr, Burlesque Stripper Linked to a Governor, Dies at 83
By ASHLEY SOUTHALLJUNE 16, 2015
Blaze Starr in New Orleans in 1959. Credit Associated Press
Blaze Starr, the voluptuous stripper who became one of the most famous burlesque performers in America, and whose affair with a Louisiana governor was the basis of a movie, died on Monday at home in Wilsondale, W.Va. She was 83.
She was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital, her nephew, Earsten Spaulding, said. In recent years, she had heart problems and underwent bypass surgeries, he said. She had been in pain on Sunday, he added, but she refused to go to the hospital after she began feeling better.
Ms. Starr, with a head full of red hair, an ample bosom and a penchant for playful humor, stoked the fantasies of her legions of admirers from the runways of burlesque clubs across the country for more than 30 years, seducing many men along the way.
Her most famous affair, with Gov. Earl K. Long of Louisiana, produced a scandal that was the basis for the 1989 film, “Blaze,” starring Paul Newman and Lolita Davidovich. The film was based on her memoir, “Blaze Starr: My Life as Told to Huey Perry,” published in 1974.
One of 11 children, she was born Fannie Belle Fleming on April 10, 1932, in Wilsondale, W.Va. As a child, she worked washing laundry for $1 a day.
In 1947, she traded a life in the coal fields and got on a bus to Washington, D.C., to pursue a career as a country singer. While working at a Mayflower Doughnut Shop, she met a promoter who convinced her to become a stripper instead.
At age 15, Ms. Starr began performing at a club near the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Va., before moving to Baltimore, where in 1950, she stepped onto the runway of the 2 O’Clock Club on the Block, a famous strip of adult entertainment shops and venues.
She gained national recognition in 1954, when she was featured in Esquire magazine, and continued performing for more than 30 years before hanging up her G-string and pasties in the 1980s to become a gemologist. She made jewelry, which she sold at a mall in suburban Baltimore.
Reflecting on her career as a stripper, she told The Baltimore Sun in 2010: “Honey, I loved it. But everything has its season.”
On stage, she often delighted crowds with the way she would tuck a rose between her bosom and blow the petals across her chest. Sometimes, she stretched out on a couch, wiggling and looking seductive while removing her garments. When she got to the last pieces, smoke emerged from between her legs, triggering laughter from the crowd.
She met Governor Long while performing at the Sho-Bar in New Orleans in 1959. She recalled their affair in her memoir, and also claimed to have had an affair with President John F. Kennedy after he attended one of her shows.
College Sailing was so much fun. I had the good fortune to have great teammates; Skip Whyte, Henry Bossett. Mike Fenton, Johnny Hayes,Clay Evans,Chris Wells, Turtle, Norm Windus, and of course our coach Ned Caswell.
We sailed at the Naval Academy several times a year, unsally late fall, and early spring. Annapolis is far enough south that it made a tremendous difference in the weather. They also had fabulous facilities and could host large regattas.
Baltimore was not far away, and Saturday nights would often find us there. Baltimore in the sixties was rough. It had the “Block”; Boston had the “Combat Zone”. I doubt that many people could tell you where these places were, as not a trace exists any longer of their existence. Blaze Starr was famous and she had her Joint in the Block. The Photograph is proof that we were indeed there.