Nejla Ateş

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Nejla Ates
Born Naciye Batır[1]
RomaniaConstanța, Romania
Died 2005
TurkeyIstanbul, Turkey
Years active 1952–1966

Nejla Ateş (March 7, 1932 - died in Istanbul in 2005) was a Turkish belly dancer and actress, born in Constanța, Romania. Born as Naciye Batır, she achieved fame under the stage name Nejla Ateş in Turkey and as Nejla Ates in the United States. She was also known as Turkish Delight.[2] Notably, she appeared in the films King Richard and the Crusaders and Son of Sinbad[3] and Fanny, a Broadway musical.[4][5]

A naked statue of her was erected in Central Park in November 1954.[6]

Ates had a number of scandal sheet-moments, including a running feud with Burlesque queen Rose la Rose, who claimed Ates stole her best belly dancing moves from Rose's act.[7]

Ates, despite her success and beauty, fell into poverty and twice attempted suicide. Her first suicide attempt via an overdose of tranquilizers and asprin followed an argument with her then lover, singer Bobby Colt. Ates was named as correspondent in his divorce by Colt's wife Hope Diamond. Ates spoke publicly about her depression thus: "I'm fed up with life... with love... with everything."[7]

Her second suicide attempt with an overdose of barbiturates left her in a temporary coma.

She also suffered a series of injuries, including a slipped disc, apparently related to her dancing. Scandal sheets reported that after she left America to return to Turkey, the once delicate 4'11' tall 98 lb brunette dancer had become a 200 lb blonde. Glamour Girls of the Silver Screen states that she was born in Romania on 7 March 1932 and died in an Istanbul hospital in April 2005.[8]


  1. ^ "'Türk Lokumu' Nejla Ateş'in Hollywood'dan gecekonduya uzanan müthiş hikayesi.." Posta. Retrieved 21 November 2015. 
  2. ^ "Türk lokumu Nejla Ateş". Retrieved 21 November 2015. 
  3. ^ "Stars Interpret Oriental Dances". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 10 March 1954. Retrieved 22 December 2010. 
  4. ^ "Belly Dancer Finds Women Interesting". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. 21 November 1954. Retrieved 22 December 2010. 
  5. ^ The Broadway League. "Nejla Ates". Retrieved 21 November 2015. 
  6. ^ "Venus and the Law". LIFE. 6 June 1955. pp. 129–132. Retrieved 22 December 2010. 
  7. ^ a b "Nejla Ates - The Private Life and Times of Nejla Ates". Retrieved 21 November 2015. 
  8. ^ "Nejla Ates". Glamour Girls of the Silver Screen. Retrieved 1 December 2010. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Baysaling, Özer Ates dansi (by her widower) (Turkish)