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Fourties striptease artiste stripped of recognition

By River Reporter Nov 24, 2011

By Jess Osbaldeston

She caused controversy stripping off her clothes for our WWII troops and now she’s being stripped of a commemorative plaque by angry Surbiton residents.

 “The Queen of Striptease” Phyllis Dixey, was to have had an English Heritage plaque fixed to her old home saying ‘Phyllis Dixey 1914 to 1964. Striptease Artiste lived here in flat number 5.’

 But residents of Wentworth Court rejected the idea.

“Striptease makes you think of pole dancers and cheap strippers, which isn’t something you want associate with where you live,”
Jennifer Davis, who lives in Wentworth Court, said. “I don’t take issue with there being a plaque to commemorate her art, just with the way it was going to be worded.”

It had been suggested that ‘burlesque dancer’ was used as a more palatable alternative but this was dismissed as not properly describing Dixey’s performances which differ from the art of Burlesque.

The singer, dancer and actress was the Dita Von Teese of the 40s and introduced the first striptease show to the Whitehall Theatre in London’s West End with her own company of girls called The Whitehall Follies.

She was a huge hit with WWII forces singing and posing nude in living pictures for their entertainment. She appeared in two films and had a TV movie made about her life in 1978, 14 years after her death.

“She sounds like a fascinating woman,” said Davis.
“But I’d never heard of Phyllis Dixey before and without knowing her background it just sounds seedy.

I hope they can agree on an alternative but until then it’s just not something I want nailed to the outside of my home.”

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