Entertainer Blaze Starr, ‘‘Queen of the Strippers,’’ was born as Fanny Belle Fleming, April 10, 1932, on a farm near Wilsondale in Wayne County. One of 10 children, she left home at age 14, worked at a Logan drive-in restaurant, then caught a bus for Washington, where she found a job in a donut shop.
When a date took her to a burlesque club in Baltimore, she told the owner she could do a better job than any of the girls he had dancing. The next night she showed up to prove it. Impressed, owner Sol Goodman became her manager and rechristened her ‘‘Blaze Starr.’’ Soon she was the star attraction at Goodman’s Two O’ Clock Club, part of ‘‘The Block,’’ Baltimore’s famous red-light district.
In 1959, while performing in New Orleans, she met colorful Louisiana Gov. Earl Long, the brother and successor of the populist Huey Long. Starr and Earl Long began an affair that, when it became public, horrified his friends and delighted his foes. When Long died of a heart attack, Starr returned to burlesque, bought the Two O’ Clock Club from Goodman and became a Baltimore legend. Over time, she changed her style, going from vamp to comedienne. When she retired in the mid-1980s she complained that burlesque, forced to compete with pornographic movies, had become too raunchy for her tastes.
In 1974, she wrote an autobiography with co-author Huey Perry of Huntington. In 1989 the book was filmed as Blaze, a movie starring Paul Newman as Earl Long and Lolita Davidovich as Starr.
This Article was written by James E. Casto
Last Revised on October 29, 2010
Starr, Blaze & Huey Perry. Blaze Starr: My Life. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1974.