Actress and Burlesque Stripper. Performed in 12 movies, and had her own television show "The Gypsy Rose Lee Show" in 1958. She wrote 3 books, including her autobiography, "Gypsy" which became a best seller. She brought respectability to the stripping art form. Born Rose Louise Hovick in Seattle, Washington, her father was a mild-mannered businessman. Her mother, Rose, was determined to leave Seattle. When her sister, June, proved more talented than Gypsy, her mother took both children and started a career with them in vaudeville, while divorcing her husband. They started an act in 1921 called "Baby June and Her Farmboys" in which Gypsy's little sister was the star. They made good money, as much as $1500 a week, however, by 1925, they realized that vaudeville was dying as an art form. When June ran away with a chorus boy (she was 13), Gypsy formed a new act called "Rose Louise and Her Hollywood Blondes," which proved modestly successful. Finally, Gypsy took a job stripping in a burlesque house, at the age of 15. Performer that she was, instead of just stripping to music, she danced and teasingly took only a few items off, adding more tease than strip to the performance. The audience loved it, and Gypsy had found her calling. She took the stage name, Gypsy Rose Lee, mostly on a whim. She became popular as a stripper, and brought a form of respectability to it. In 1937, she made her film debut in the movie "Ali Baba Goes to Town," under her real name, Louise Hovick. She made several movies in the late 1930s and early 1940s, but most of them failed. She then wrote a novel, "The G-String Murders" (1941), and a play, "Doll Face" (1945). She had 3 marriages, each ending in divorce, and a string of affairs, including one with Otto Preminger, the father of her only child, Erik Lee Preminger. In 1957 she wrote her autobiography, "Gypsy," which was made into a successful Broadway musical. In the 1960s, she played a number of cameo appearances on television and movies. She died of cancer in 1970.
Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson