`QUEEN OF BURLESQUE' KNEW ELVIS, JFK.
Once caused a stampede at U of Colorado
In the 1950s, when striptease artists such as Lili St. Cyr, Blaze Starr and Helen “Treasure Chest” West were regularly featured in tabloids and popular magazines, Tempest Storm may have been the most famous exotic dancer of them all.
In 1956, Storm signed a 10-year contract that paid her a minimum of US$100,000 a year. Her breasts were reportedly insured for US$1 million. She caused a stampede of 1,500 male students when she appeared at the University of Colorado.
“They must have been shut up for months without women,” she said. “They rushed me like a herd of cattle.”
Her Hollywood friends included Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Her many paramours, according to her 1987 autobiography, included Elvis Presley and John F. Kennedy.
Storm, hailed as “The Last Queen of Burlesque,” died April 20 at her home in Las Vegas. She was 93.
The death was confirmed by her manager, Harvey Robbins, who declined to cite a cause.
For more than 25 years, Storm's name appeared on the marquees of a nationwide network of burlesque theatres, a relic of 20th-century entertainment now vanished into the past.
“I did a class act,” Storm told Portland's Oregonian newspaper in 2014. “Beautiful wardrobe. Big band. Opening act. It was sexy, teasing, but nothing vulgar.”
She trained with a choreographer, sewed her outfits herself and dyed her hair a fiery red. She walked onstage wearing a full-length gown, long gloves and a mink stole — and left it wearing considerably less.
Storm found her niche in show business after fleeing rural poverty in her native Georgia. Divorced twice by the time she was 16, she made her way to Los Angeles and was working as a cocktail waitress when a customer suggested that she consider dancing at a nearby burlesque theatre, the Follies.
She spent three weeks in the chorus line before she was asked if she would take a turn in the spotlight and do a striptease.
“I said, `Forget it,' “she told The Post in 1973. “Then they told me they'd raise my pay from $40 to $60 a week. `In that case,' I said, `I'll take it.' ”