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March 12, 2024

Tempest Storm: The Last Queen of Burlesque

Born 1928 Annie Blanche Banks in Eastman, Georgia, American burlesque star and actress Tempest Storm worked as a carhop waitress at Simon’s Drive-In and then as a cocktail waitress, though still underage at age 17 in 1945. A patron suggested she consider striptease as a profession, and arranged an audition with Follies Theater talent manager Lillian Hunt. Three weeks after being hired as a chorus dancer at $40 a week (approximately $570 in 2020 dollars), Storm accepted a promotion to $60 (approximately $855 in 2020 dollars) as a stripper.

Storm was a regular performer for many years at El Rey, a burlesque theater in Oakland, California, as well as at clubs around the United States, including in Las Vegas. She was featured in numerous men’s magazines and burlesque movies, including French Peep Show (1950), Paris After Midnight (1951), Striptease Girl (1952), Teaserama (1955), and Buxom Beautease (1956).

Along with Lili St. Cyr, Sally Rand, and Blaze Starr, she was one of the best-known burlesque performers of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Her career as an exotic dancer spanned more than 60 years, and she was still performing in the early 21st century. She died in 2021, aged 93, following a short illness.

Take a look at these stunning photos to see the beauty of young Tempest Storm in the 1950s and 1960s.

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