Legendary stripper Blaze Starr dies at 83

In this Sept. 2, 1959, file photo, Blaze Starr, a burlesque star and stripper, arrives in New Orleans by plane from Miami to visit Louisiana Gov. Earl K. Long.  (AP PHOTO)

In this Sept. 2, 1959, file photo, Blaze Starr, a burlesque star and stripper, arrives in New Orleans by plane from Miami to visit Louisiana Gov. Earl K. Long. (AP PHOTO)

Blaze Starr, the burlesque icon who rose from notoriety to infamy through her 1950s affair with a Louisiana governor, passed away Monday at 83.

Starr’s bump-and-grind brought her fame in 1950s New Orleans even before she encountered colorful Louisiana Gov. Earl K. Long, according to The Associated Press. The 1989 movie “Blaze,” starring Lolita Davidovich and Paul Newman, portrayed the couple’s fiery but brief relationship, which ended with Long’s 1960 death at age 65.

Ted Jones, an 81-year-old former aide to Long, said Long’s affair was the reflection of “a 60-year-old man trying to reinvent his life.”

Jones said the open affair lasted between 1959 and Long’s death in September 1960, but didn’t mar Long’s legacy — although it gave his political opponents something with which to “jump on him.”

“Of course, Ms. Blanche (Long’s wife) didn’t like her, but that was beside the point,” Jones said. “It didn’t mar his legacy; it demonstrated that old men have a flair for nice women.”

Born in coal-mining country in West Virginia, Starr’s adventures also included (allegedly) sleeping with John F. Kennedy before he was elected president; buying her own burlesque club in Baltimore; and starring in exploitation films like “Blaze Starr Goes Nudist,” in which she illustrated the health benefits of lounging topless.

“Just from a showbiz point of view, I respected her deeply,” said Baltimore native John Waters, who grew up watching Starr at her Two O’Clock Club.

“She had a sense of humor, and she turned what was once thought of as a negative career, being a stripper, into a class act in a weird way,” he said. “No one looked down on Blaze Starr.”

In addition to dancing, Starr was a fan of mushroom and ginseng hunting, and played the banjo, her nephew said.

KANYE CATNAPS AT HOUSE OF MOUSE

Father’s Day isn’t until Sunday (mail those cards now!), but Kanye West proved his dad credentials this week: The man can fall asleep anywhere.

West and wife Kim Kardashian were at Disneyland on Monday for the second birthday of their daughter, North, when he took a nap during a “Frozen” singalong show, snoring through 25 minutes of kids screeching more atonally than West without Auto-Tune.

At least one person at Disneyland isn’t ready to let it go: the worker who plays Elsa used Twitter to lament, “When you perform for the Kardashian family for North’s birthday … and Kanye sleeps through the whole show.”

QUICK TAKES

Newly announced presidential candidate Donald Trump, representing the Snowball’s Chance in Hell Party, is putting “The Apprentice” on hold. Trump suffered an early setback Tuesday as Neil Young ripped him for using the song “Rockin’ In the Free World.” The Canadian rocker is a Bernie Saunders man. … Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff, known for tunes like “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” have been named co-chairmen of the Songwriters Hall of Fame. … Actor John Hurt, 75, is “optimistic” about his pancreatic cancer diagnosis.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Rapper Kendrick Lamar is 28. … Earthquakes midfielder Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi is 30. … 49ers player Craig Dahl is 30. … Tennis player Venus Williams is 35. … Singer Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys is 57. … Singer Barry Manilow is 72.Blaze StarrEarl LongJohn WatersKanye WestKim Kardashian

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