Fans! A Sally Rand Centennial Celebration is a tribute to the American burlesque icon benefitting a nonprofit shelter that finds homes for abandoned cats and dogs: Animal Haven. Some of the hosts and performers will include Kelly Bishop, Barbara Bruno, Carleton Carpenter, Marge Champion, Mercedes Ellington, Carlin Glynn, Michael McGrath, Donna McKechnie, Patrice Munsel, Bebe Neuwirth, Rex Reed, Angie Schworer, Julie Wilson, Deborah Wingert and others. Music will be by Lounge-O-Leers. The musical celebration is directed by Tony Stevens and written by Deborah Grace Winer with costumes by Paul Foltz.
Although she served as an actress to such directors as Cecil B. deMille, Sally Rand is best known for her famous "fan dance." She was born as Harriet Helen Gould Beck in the Ozark Mountain town of Elkton, Missouri on Easter Sunday, the 3rd of April, 1904. She was interested in dance from an early age and, literally, ran away with a carnival as a teenager. She later pursued such career opportunities as night club cigarette girl, artist's model, and cafe dancer. Experience with the carnival led to employment with the Adoplh Bohm Chicago Ballet Company and the Ringling Brothers Circus. Later she started acting. While appearing in Los Angeles, Rand caught the eye of the famous "Keystone Cops" director, Max Sennett, who gave her a role in one of his films. She also worked for Cecil B. DeMille in the biblical film, King of Kings, and several other.
She combined her dancing talent and flamboyant style as an exotic dancer in burlesque houses across the country. Best known for her sexually provocative dance, using ostrich feather fans, that she introduced at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair (supplemented in 1934 by a bubble dance), Sally Rand eventually made her form of erotic movement more acceptable to mainstream audiences than strip-tease had been. She thought of herself as a "terpsichorean artiste" rather than a stripper or exotic dancer. She became an American institution, performing into her seventies.
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