Ann Corio

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Yank Magazine Sep. 3, 1943


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Ann Corio (November 29, 1914 – March 1, 1999) was a prominent American burlesque ecdysiast and actress.

Born in Hartford, Connecticut, she was one of twelve children of parents of Italian immigrants. While still in her teens, Corio's good looks and shapely physique landed her showgirl roles that led to her becoming a hugely popular striptease artist. Working in New York City, she was a star performer at clubs such as the famous Minsky's Burlesque.

AnnCorio01.jpg

However, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia closed down the "bawdy" houses in 1939 and Corio made her way to the Los Angeles. Between 1941 and 1944 she appeared in several Hollywood "B" motion pictures which featured her in scanty costumes, the best known of which was perhaps 1942's Jungle Siren opposite Buster Crabbe.

Corio had a long successful career dancing on stage. In 1965, she put together the Broadway theatre show "This Was Burlesque" which she directed and in which also performed. In 1968 she wrote a book using that same title. Her fame was enduring enough that in the 1970s (by this time Corio was long retired and in her mid fifties) she twice was a guest on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. In 1981 her Broadway show was revised as a musical satire based on her recollections and brought back to Broadway.

Ann Corio died in Englewood, New Jersey in 1999, aged 84.


Ann Corio, a Burlesque Queen on Broadway, Is Dead - From New York Times, March 9th, 1999
"Ann Corio, the auburn-haired, green-eyed queen of burlesque whose long-running show, This Was Burlesque, kept alive the art of strippers and the comedy of baggy-pants clowns in the age of the X-rated film, died on March 1 at Englewood Hospital in Englewood, New Jersey. Ms. Corio, a resident of Cliffside Park, New Jersey, kept her age a closely guarded secret, but was believed to be in her 80's. A survivor of a shapely sisterhood that included Gypsy Rose Lee, Margie Hart and Georgia Sothern, Ms. Corio lasted long enough to reach the iconic status that enabled her to present the striptease as a put-on. ... Ms. Corio was one of 12 children of Italian immigrants from Naples who settled in Hartford, where, she said, she was once a Sunday school teacher. Her father died when she was young, and at 16, after working as a dancer, she discovered she could earn more on the burlesque circuit. In addition to her husband, Michael P. Iannucci, she is survived by two sisters, Helen LaRue of West Hartford, Conn., and Lillian Denote of Bristol, Conn.
Information from
Abbott & Costello Quarterly News website

Burlesque queen Ann Corio dies

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The acknowledged "queen" of burlesque stripteasers, Ann Corio, died March 1 at Englewood Hospital in Englewood, N.J. Although her age was a well-guarded secret, she was believed to be in her late 80s. Born in Hartford, Conn., Ann was six years old when she saw a traveling vaudeville company perform and became entranced with show business. Largely self-trained as a dancer, at 15 she started in the chorus of a Minsky burlesque show in New York and within a year became a headliner. "And why not?" she explained in her book, "This Was Burlesque." "I was a 15-year-old girl competing with strippers who were mostly in their late thirties or forties." Her act was built around innocence: "I didn't like those bumps and grinds," she explained. "The more innocent I was, the more wicked the boys felt, and the more often they paid their way through the turnstiles." Her fame rose steadily, and she eventually commanded a percentage of the gate wherever she performed.

In 1933, Corio introduced Lou Costello, who was a comic in her troupe, to his future wife, Anne Battler, who was in the show's chorus. Ann remained good friends with the Costellos throughout their lives. Later, in 1936, Ann headlined a burlesque show that featured the new team of Abbott and Costello. She graciously let them out of their burlesque contract so they could move up to vaudeville and, eventually, radio.

In the 1940s, with burlesque fading, Ann did a few C-grade films and summer stock. In 1962, Corio and her third husband, Mike Iannucci, launched one of the longest-running road shows in theatrical history, "This Was Burlesque," a tribute to the golden age of strippers and baggy-pants comics. "We're naughty and bawdy," she once said, describing the new show, "but never vulgar. The whole family can see my show." The show's last performance was in 1991.

Ann is survived by her husband, and her two sisters.

Legacy

She is a member of the Hall of Fame at the Exotic World Burlesque Museum in Helendale, California.

External links

A Personal Note from Robin

I find it quite interesting that the "Jungle Siren" movie poster has Ann Corio billing above Buster Crabbe

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