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[Burlesque star Sherry Britton, Leon & Eddie's, 52nd Street, New York]

Date 1945
Location 52nd Street New York United States
Dimensions Image: 6 1/2 x 4 1/2 in. (16.5 x 11.4 cm)
Paper: 7 1/16 x 5 in. (17.9 x 12.7 cm)
Print medium Photo-Gelatin silver

Showgirl Sherry Britton (1918–2008), the star of Leon & Eddie’s famed burlesque show, was born Edith Zack to a poor Jewish family in New Jersey. Celebrated for her elegant and prim performances, she peeled off evening gowns to Tchaikovsky in her most popular routine. Although only a little over five feet, the low vantage point of this shot makes her appear statuesque and imposing.
In the late 1940s, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia implemented increasingly severe restrictions on burlesque shows in New York; as a result, Leon & Eddie’s closed in 1953. Sherry Britton, the subject of a well-known 1953 photograph by Weegee, later established a career in “legitimate” theater and television, ultimately graduating summa cum laude from Fordham Law School in the early 1980s.


© Mara Vishniac Kohn

Credit line

Gift of Mara Vishniac Kohn, 2013

Feedback Accession No. MVK.887.2008