Farewell, Fannie Bell
Blaze Starr, the flame-haired Bourbon Street stripper who exploded into public consciousness in 1959 when she carried on a boisterous affair with Gov. Earl K. Long, died Monday at her home in rural West Virginia, not far from where she grew up.
Starr, who had been in New Orleans for only a few days when she met the governor, wrote a 1974 memoir about her time with Long. Fifteen years later, it was made into a movie, “Blaze,” with Lolita Davidovich playing the stripper and Paul Newman playing Earl Long. Starr had a minor role in the picture.
Starr’s nephew, Earsten Spaulding, said she died Monday at her Wilsondale, West Virginia, home. He said she had experienced heart issues the past few years. She was 83.
Blaze Starr, née Fannie Bell Fleming, became a strip-club superstar in her twenties. More:
In early 1959, she began performing at the Sho-Bar in New Orleans, and it was there she met Long, who was nearing the end of his second and final term as governor.
“After watching my burning couch routine, he came back to the dressing room and introduced himself,” Starr later told People magazine. “As I headed onstage for the finale, I could hear him hollering, ‘Will you go to dinner with me?’
“ ‘Can I trust you,’ I said.
“ ‘Hell, no,’ he replied.”