In the movie “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” the character of Janet sings the line “God Bless Lili St. Cyr,” leaving the audience to respond “Who the hell is Lili St. Cyr?” or “Who the f*ck is Lili St. Cyr?”
If you’ve ever seen Rocky Horror you probably know what I’m talking about.
I remember actually going through the card catalog in the library back in high school trying to find out who the hell Lili St. Cyr was. My friends and I all vaguely knew she was some sort of stripper, B actress or burlesque star, but no one I knew ever really knew what she was famous for with any certainty.
Thankfully, we now live in the digital age and information is just a click away. Turns out Lili St Cyr was a dancer who figured out she could make more money as a headliner if she was nude. So off the clothes came. She was a contemporary of Gypsy Rose Lee and was once billed as the “Anatomic Bomb.” Like Mae West, she was so damn sexy they took her to court.
She made a few movies but her acting career never really took off. In the movie “Son of Sinbad,” produced by millionaire playboy Howard Hughes, she plays a harem girl, Nerissa. It opens with the poet Omar Khayyam played by Vincent Price watching a dancing girl perform, but wait, that’s not her- she doesn’t show up until the ten minutes later as she sits in a tub waiting for her lover Sinbad to show up. We get a nice silhouette of her figure when she gets out of her bath. It’s a typical swords and sandals type movie that you can watch right here:
She also appears in the short “A Bedroom Fantasy” at the 5:50 mark:
You can also see he strut her stuff in this trailer for another movie she made, Varietease which featured many of her contemporary strippers including female impersonator Vickie Lynn: