For the past few years I’ve been attending sessions of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School in both Baltimore and Washington, DC where I’ve sketched plenty of NSFW drawings of various burlesque performers. I’ve just found out that another name I knew from my childhood has died, who was definitely a precursor to all those burlesque performers currently putting on shows entertaining adults all over the world.

Blaze Starr was a burlesque performer who found greater fame when she was in the center of a political scandal due to her 1950’s affair with then-Louisiana Governor Earl Long. Blaze Starr spent much of her career performing in Baltimore’s notorious red light district known as The Block and in New Orleans, where she met Earl Long.

I first heard of Blaze Starr when I was a child growing up back in the 1970’s because my parents purchased a copy of her autobiography. I don’t recall ever reading it but I do remember going through the pictures published in the book once or twice. Years later my then-husband and I saw the movie based on that autobiography, Blaze, which starred Paul Newman as Earl Long. I remembered we both enjoyed that movie tremendously.

After I heard about her death via Facebook, I did some searching online and I found a couple of interesting YouTube videos. The first is a 1980’s interview she did while the Blaze movie was still in production.

And here’s Blaze Starr in her prime in the 1950’s.