Gypsy Rose Lee

By: Lynn Peril
January 8, 2010

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Dubbed the “Striptease Intellectual” by the American Mercury, GYPSY ROSE LEE (1911-70) wowed the boys with her witty chatter as she removed all but her G-string and two strategically placed bows. An autodidact who penned a bestselling memoir (Gypsy, the basis for the hit Broadway musical and film), two mysteries, and myriad newspaper and magazine articles, she longed to be taken seriously as a writer. Indeed, rumors abound that at least one of her novels (The G-String Murders) was ghostwritten by mystery writer Craig Rice, who had worked for a while as Lee’s publicist. Lee remained mostly unperturbed in the face of such gossip: a biographer reports that at one publishing event for Gypsy, Lee “slowly removed her hat, gloves, and jacket in front of the audience and purred, ‘I don’t want you to think that all I can do is write books.’”

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What do you think?

  1. Did you read February House? Fascinating account of the group house in Brooklyn in the 40s funded by Gypsy Rose Lee and housing Carson McCullers, W.H. Auden, Jane and Paul Bowles, Benjamin Britten and others.

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