Sunday, September 1, 2013

To Absent Friends: David Frost, Dixie Evans

Word arrives on Facebook this morning of the death of British entertainer David Frost, or Sir David Frost to give him his due.  Frost was introduced to America as host of the satirical "That Was The Week That Was" in the 1960's and later had a long run as successful talk show host here in the States.  

Frost came back into American consciousness in recent years with the play and movie, "Frost/Nixon" about how he landed the first exclusive interview with Richard Nixon after his resignation from the Presidency.  After I saw that movie, I remember encountering an older gent in the lobby of the theater who asked me what movie I had just seen.  When I told him "Frost/Nixon" he said "Don't think I'll see that one. Too many bad memories."  I don't think he was referring to David Frost.

RIP David Frost.

OK, indulge me on this one, but it involves another one of those odd but fascinating, to me anyway, news obituaries that appeared in the Post-Gazette this morning. 

Dixie Evans died early last month at the age of 86.  After working as an airplane mechanic during WW II, she started dancing as chorus girl in touring musicals, but later drifted into the world of burlesque.  Because of an uncanny resemblance to a certain movie star, enhanced mightily by burlesque impresario Harold Minsky, she hit the burly-que jackpot by being billed as the "Marilyn Monroe of Burlesque".  Of course, when Monroe died, Dixie Evans career as a headliner pretty much died with her.

In the late eighties, she moved in to help care for her friend and fellow burly dancer Jennie Lee, who was terminally ill.  She and Miss Lee started a sort of informal Burlesque Museum, and Evans kept it up and expanded it to include a Burlesque Hall of Fame following Lee's death in 1990,   In 2006, Dixie Evans moved the Burlesque Hall of Fame to Las Vegas where she continued to maintain it and live until her death.

As I say, these kinds of stories fascinate me.

RIP Dixie Evans.

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