July 28, 1918
New Brunswick, New Jersey
April 1, 2008 (aged 89)|
Manhattan, New York
|Alma mater||Fordham University|
|Occupation||Burlesque dancer, actress|
Edith Zack (July 28, 1918 – April 1, 2008), better known by the stage name Sherry Britton, was an American burlesque performer of the 1930s and early 1940s. The 5-foot-3-inch (1.60 m) Britton had an 18-inch (46 cm) waist, and was once said to have a "figure to die for." She got her stage name from a liquor store on a bottle of Harvey's Bristol Cream Sherry.
Britton performed in many theaters and clubs during the Golden Age of burlesque. She once said "I despised burlesque." However, she did enjoy stripping in nightclubs, like Leon & Eddie's where she was a regular for seven years. She stripped to classical music, wore lovely long gowns and tiaras and crowns. When burlesque went by the wayside due to the NYC ban in 1940, Britton turned to plays, eventually appearing in almost forty of them. Britton also spent much time during World War II entertaining troops, for which she was made an honorary Brigadier General by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Britton was performing in Washington, D.C. clubs as late as 1958, the year she turned 40. She was barred from appearing at the 1964 New York World's Fair, because she was too risqué. She instead became a cabaret singer and appeared in many theater productions.
In 1971, Britton, who had been married twice previously, and who once said she'd been engaged "14 times," married wealthy businessman Robert Gross (no relation to aviator Robert E. Gross). Gross urged her to attend Fordham University. Although Britton had never attended high school, she was said to have a very high IQ. She attended Fordham and graduated pre-law in 1982, magna cum laude, at the age of 63.
After Gross died in 1990, Britton lived a life of retirement, stepping back into the limelight in 1993 on her 75th birthday performing at the Marriott Marquis Hotel on Broadway in NYC.
Britton died of natural causes on April 1, 2008 in New York City.
- Zemeckis, Leslie (2013). "Chapter 26: Legendary Ladies". Behind the Burly Q: The Story of Burlesque in America. Delaware: Skyhorse Publishing. ISBN 978-1-62087-691-6.
- Hevesi, Dennis (3 April 2008). "Sherry Britton, 89, a Star of the Burlesque Stage, Dies". The New York Times.
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