Dixie Evans, known as “the Marilyn Monroe of burlesque”, passed away yesterday. The curator of the Burlesque Hall of Fame was also a performing legend in her own right.

Dixie Evans, founder of the Burlesque Hall of Fane, has passed away aged 86.

Dixie Evans, founder of the Burlesque Hall of Fame, has passed away aged 86.

Legends come, legends go and this weekend one of the biggest on the world burlesque scene passed away yesterday afternoon at the age of 86. Dixie Evans died at a Las Vegas assisted-care facility following a stroke earlier in the year.

The California-born star worked on an airplane factory line during World War II, then took up the art of burlesque in the 1950s and on into the 1960s performing across the United States. Her renowned parodies of actress Marilyn Monroe attracted the likes of Frank Sinatra and Monroe-marrier Joe DiMaggio.

Dixie Evans in action performing one of her routines

In 1990, Evans went from being a burlesque performer to the godmother of the burlesque revival. She created the Exotic World Burlesque Museum, based on the collection of memorabilia put together by her deceased friend Jennie Lee, assisted by Lee’s husband. As a way to draw people to the museum, she initiated the Miss Exotic World pageant in the same year. Fifteen years later, the success of both ventures led to them moving from their original home of a Californian goat farm to more salubrious quarters in Las Vegas.

A statement posted on her Facebook page confirmed Evans’ passing:

Today I lost a friend and the world lost a star. Dixie Evans, beloved by millions around the world as “The Marilyn Monroe of Burlesque” passed away peacefully this afternoon, she was 86. Dixie had been looking forward to all the shows planned in her honor as part of Dixie Evans Week coming up at the end of this August. Her spirit was lively and bright until the end. She will be remembered as a generous loving person who always placed others’ needs before her own. She had many passions in life but none greater than burlesque history and making it live on for generations to come. Dixie always felt humbled at how many performers considered her an influence, and she loved that her efforts lead to the burlesque revival that is still thriving around the world. More information will come soon about her memorial.

Dixie wouldn’t want us to morn her departure, instead she would rather we all celebrate her life. We thank you for respecting her friends’ and family’s privacy at this time.

Evans continued to curate the museum up until this year and could still be found personally leading tours through the exhibits. Now known as the Burlesque Hall of Fame, both the museum and the annual conference are global temples to the modern burlesque scene.

Dixie Evans Week (26 August-2 September), a series of events originally intended to raise money towards Evans’ care, continues here in London.

On Monday 26 August, Banbury Cross will kick things off with a burlesque-inspired hair and makeup workshop at Rockalily Cuts in Dalston. On Wednesday 28 August, Cross will then be hosting both a “1950s Bump and Grind” taster class and Legends Tribute Tease-o-rama at Rattlesnake, Angel. The show will feature London burlesque acts paying homage to the hellraisers of the 1950s and 1960s including Evans, Tempest Storm, Bettie Page and Blaize Star.

The final event of the week on Monday 2 September is a special burlesque-styled edition of Naked Girls Reading, presented by Sophia St. Villier at Volupte Lounge. Audience members will be invited to take part in a special burlesque goodies raffle. St. Villier will be joined by stars of the UK burlesque scene including Vicky Butterfly, Diva Hollywood, Emma Glory Pearl Mitchell, Josephine Shaker, Banbury Cross and Dolly Rose.

A playlist of Dixie Evans videos put together by the Burlesque Hall of Fame can be found here.