Click for large image
Gypsy Rose Lee was born Rose Louise Hovick in Seattle, Washington in 1911 (or was it 1914, and maybe she was born on January 8th, and we will never know, because her mother, Rose, lied about her age so much!). She had the misfortune to have the mother of all "stage mothers", and after her parents divorced while she (then called Louise) and her sister (June) were small, her mother started them in a vaudeville act, Baby June and Her Farmboys. Her sister was the star, but when she was 13 June ran off and got married! So Rose, who could never say die, changed the act so that it starred Louise, and it was now called Rose Louise and Her Hollywood Blondes. As vaudeville died they were booked into burlesque houses, and if you have seen Gypsy or The Night They Raided Minsky's then you know the story of how Louise's mother forced her to become a stripper when she was just 15! She became Gypsy Rose Lee, and she soon was the top stripper anywhere, despite the fact that she barely took off any clothes! She also appeared in some movies under her given name, and later under her stage name, but without a lot of success. Meanwhile her sister June re-surfaced as actress June Havoc and starred in movies, and on Broadway and TV. Meanwhile their mother, who had lost control of the sisters, ended up running a lesbian boarding house in New York City, and she reportedly killed one of the guests there with a gun during an argument, but she got away with it! She died in 1954. In 1957 Gypsy Rose Lee wrote the story of her life, and it became first a musical on Broadway in 1959, and in 1962 it was made into a film starring Natalie Wood as Gypsy, and Rosalind Russell as her mother Rose. Gypsy Rose Lee passed away in 1970 at the age of 59, having had three marriages, as well as a child with director Otto Preminger. Her sister June Havoc passed away in 2010 at the age of 97.
view gallery of sold items featuring Gypsy Rose Lee