March 20, 1930
|Died||May 25, 2021 (aged 91)|
Warren was born in New York City in 1930 and adopted six months later by Helen and Herbert Goldman, a couple from Milton, Massachusetts, who named her Ilene Goldman. She graduated from Milton High School around 1948, studied piano at the New England Conservatory of Music, graduating around 1954. She spent her first free summer entertaining in small lounges, and later taught there briefly after obtaining her degree. Her musical mentor at the time was Arthur Fiedler, the conductor of the Boston Pops.
She recorded for Jubilee Records, then GNP Crescendo Records which reissued some of her earlier Jubilee albums. Known as the "Knockers Up Gal", she has frequently been called the "mother of the sexual revolution". Her career began in the early 1950s in Phoenix, Arizona. Later she moved her act to Las Vegas, Nevada. Her comedy routines exposed the subject of sex from a female perspective. Her most famous contribution to the sexual revolution was the song "Knockers Up" from the 1960 album of the same name.
SCTV comedian Catherine O'Hara performed a character called Dusty Towne who was based on Warren.
Label GNP Crescendo produced a DVD that chronicles her life in show business. The DVD, Rusty Warren: Knockers Up! The Lady Behind the Laughs, was released by GNP Crescendo in 2008. Her life partner was Elizabeth Rizzo from 1984 to 2019 and they resided in Hawaii after moving from Paradise Valley, Arizona. Rizzo wrote Rusty's biography, Rusty Warren - The Knockers Up Gal, available on Amazon. It contains excerpts from news articles and magazine articles in chronological order to tell the story of Rusty's career and those who worked with her. Rusty and her entourage saved every news article, photograph, slides, reels of video footage from her Las Vegas shows, magazines, promotional material, letters, performance contracts, handwritten notes—everything pertaining to her career as a comedian spanning from 1955 through the late 1980s. The Rusty Warren collection is in the archives of the Library of Congress and on display at the National Comedy Museum.
Rusty Warren died in her sleep on May 25, 2021, at the age of 91.
- Songs for Sinners – Jubilee JGM 2024 (1959)
- Knockers Up! – Jubilee JGM 2029 (1960)
- Sin-sational – Jubilee JGM 2034 (1961)
- Rusty Warren Bounces Back – Jubilee JGM 2039 (1961)
- Rusty Warren in Orbit – Jubilee JGM 2044 (1962)
- Banned in Boston? – Jubilee JGM 2049 (1963)
- Sex-x-ponent – Jubilee JGM 2054 (1964)
- Rusty Sings a Portrait of Life – Jubilee JGS 5025 (1964)
- More Knockers Up! – Jubilee JGM 2059 (1965)
- Rusty Rides Again – Jubilee JGM 2064 (1967)
- Bottoms Up! – Jubilee JGM 2069 (1969)
- Look What I Got for You – Jubilee JGS 2074 (1969)
- Lays It on the Line – GNP-Crescendo GNPS-2081 (1974)
- Knockers Up '76 – GNP-Crescendo GNPS-2088 (1976)
- Sexplosion – GNP-Crescendo GNPS-2114 (1977)
- Knockers Up! / Songs For Sinners – GNP-Crescendo GNP 2-2079 1973 (reissue of Jubilee JGM 2029 and JGM 2024)
- Bounces Back / Sin-sational – GNP-Crescendo GNP 2-2080 1973 (reissue of Jubilee JGM 2039 and JGM 2034)
- Bottoms Up! – GNP-Crescendo GNPS-2103 (1976) (reissue of Jubilee JGM 2069)
- "Knockers Up" / "Basin Street" / "Bounce Your Boobies" / "Shimmy Like My Sister Kate" – Jubilee 45-2039 (1961)
- "Roll Me Over" / Do It Now / "Twist Blues" – Jubilee 45-2049 (1962)
- "I Like Everybody" / "Waltz Me Around Again Willie" / "Greenback Dollar" / "The Sexy Life" – Jubilee 45-2059 (1963)
- "The Pill Song" / "Surprise" / "Red River Sally" / "Steel Drivin' Man" – Jubilee 45-2069 (1964)
- Some sources have incorrectly cited March 17, 1930 or March 17, 1931 as Warren's date of birth
- "Ilene F Goldman in household of Herbert Goldman, "United States Census, 1940", giving age as 10 in 1940 census; accessed May 14, 2014.
- "Life of the Party". Las Vegas Review-Journal. November 15, 2009.
- McLellan, Dennis (July 16, 1992). "'PRETTY RELATABLE STUFF': Carol Leifer Tells Jokes She Hopes People Can Identify With". The Los Angeles Times.
- Vineyard, Jennifer (April 4, 2014). "Bette Midler on Soph, Janis Joplin, and Her Early Years in New York City".
- K. Arnold, Thomas (March 1, 1988). "Dr. Demento to Make San Diego House Call". The Los Angeles Times.
- Mock, Roberta (2007). Jewish Women on Stage, Film and Television. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 90. ISBN 978-1-349-73850-2.
- New interview with Rusty Warren, classicshowbiz.blogspot.com, July 2010; accessed November 20, 2014.
- "Rusty Warren, an often overlooked comedy trailblazer, dead at 91".
- Official website
- Rusty Warren at iTunes
- Rusty Warren discography at Discogs
- Rusty Warren at IMDb
- Nesteroff, Kliph (June 27, 2010). "The Life and Times of Rusty Warren". Beware of the Blog. WFMU.
In 1954 Ilene Goldman was a recent graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music. She spent her first free summer entertaining in small lounges. A rare exception was her participation in a salient twenty-one piano tribute to Chopin directed by future PBS favorite Arthur Fiedler.
- McKim, Brian; Skene, Traci. "Interview with Rusty Warren". Sheckymagazine.
WELCOME TO FORT LIQUORDALE IN THE WINTER. I played there from after or on New Year's 'til up to spring break, when I would go back to Scottsdale, AZ, 'til before summer, then head off for another tour of the country.
- Rusty Warren - Topic YouTube