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June 6, 2017

An Icon of Burlesque: 10 Fascinating Black and White Photos of Gypsy Rose Lee From Between the 1920s and 1940s

Gypsy Rose Lee rose from an early life in vaudeville to America's most famed burlesque performers, becoming the subject of the Broadway show Gypsy.

Gypsy Rose Lee (known also as Louise) was a stripper and burlesque dancer who found fame in the 1940s. She initially started in the vaudeville circuit at a very young age with her sister, June, who was thought to be the star of the show.

When June left the act at 15 to get married, Gypsy, having few other options, entered the world of burlesque. She eventually became renowned for her sexy yet clever act. Gypsy's life has been made into a move twice, once in 1962, starring Natalie Wood. And again in 1993 with Bette Midler as Louise's mother, and Cynthia Gibb as Louise.

Born Rose Louise Hovick (and shown here at age 10), she reinvented herself as Gypsy Rose Lee. (Pictorial Parade/Getty Images)

Here's Gypsy (or Louise, as she was known before fame) with her sister June, in 1925. (FPG/Getty Images)

A photo session for Gypsy's debut film, You Can't Have Everything (1937). (Hulton Archive / Getty Images)

In 1941, Gypsy Rose Lee works on her novel, The G-String Murders, published by Simon & Schuster. (Eliot Elisofon/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Tips in 1941. (John Phillips//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

A 1944 portrait. (Bruno of Hollywood/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

1949: Gypsy, at right, fits another dancer with a costume of her own design. She's adding another layer of lace to avoid censorship. (George Skadding//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Here in 1949, Gypsy was the star of her own striptease show. She was known for her on-stage humor as well as beauty. (George Skadding//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Gypsy Rose Lee (at right) wears a 97-lb. costume, 1949. In her act, she shed it piece-by-piece. (George Skadding//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

Posing in front of her own portrait for a 1949 carnival tour. (George Skadding//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)



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