June Pressier: vintage 8x10 MGM studios promotional photo from MGM.
June, and her sister Cherry, had been a popular vaudeville dancing team. They were both accomplished dancers and acrobatics, and even appeared in the 1934 and 1936 Ziegfeld Follies. In 1938 Cherry married and retired from dancing, and June went on to join MGM Studios.
Marion Daniels: Vintage 8x10 photo
Marion was the daughter of a Stockton, CA hotelkeeper who had been dancing in Cannes, when on 21 February 1939 Adolf Hitler paid her $1,170 to dance the lead in the Merry Widow for him in Munich. Two weeks later Hitler would have another American dancer - Mariam Verne - perform for him, and he pursued her with gifts of roses and candy for 2 weeks.
Margaret Carthew: vintage 8x10 photo dated 6 April 1935.
Cellophane costumes and wigs where all the rage in the mid 1930s. Prior to that cellophane was not popular for packaging because it was still porous and let water vapor escape, but in the late 1920s Dupont figured out a way to make it non-porous and sales went through the roof!! Shortly there after, it started being used for costumes, ‘grass’ skirts and wigs.
Rozell Rowland: vintage 7x9 news service photo from 1936
Rozell was born in Columbus, Ohio to Ida and Alva Rowland. She had 3 sisters, two of which - Dian (Thelma) and Betty, would also become burlesque dancers. As children, Rozell and Betty performed in vaudeville as a dancing sister act. Eventually, in her teens, Rozell was asked to fill in for a dancer that did not make it into work, and so began her burlesque career. The dancer that Rozell stepped in for was to appear on stage painted silver. Rozell changed the paint color to gold and became “The Golden Girl of Burlesque”. While appearing at the Dorchester House in London, Rozell caught the eye of Baron Jean Empain, one of the wealthiest men in all of Europe, and they soon became lovers. Supposedly, when Rozell became pregnant Baron Empain told her if he gave him a son and heir he would marry her, if it was a daughter he would support them both. Rozell gave birth to a son while the couple were in Budapest, and they were married in the same nursing facility where she gave birth. The child born in Budapest was Edouard-Jean Empain, who would be famously kidnapped outside his home in Paris on 23 January 1978. The kidnappers asked for 80 million francs in ransom, but when that was not paid they decreased it to 40 million francs and cut off one of his fingers to try and pressure the family to comply. He was eventually released and his kidnappers caught and tried.
Rozell’s name is spelled several different ways, including: Rosezell, Roszelle, Rose-zelle. I went with the spelling used in Liz Goldwyn’s Book Pretty Things, because Liz interviewed Rozell’s sister Betty Rowland, and I figured she knew BEST!!