Stars of Vaudeville #242: Aimee Semple McPherson
Originally posted in 2010
Today is the birthday of Aimee Semple McPherson (1890-1944).
The famous female evangelist Sister Aimee, one of the country’s premiere fundamentalists, received large sums for appearing in vaudeville in the early 30s talking about life and religion (based on her success as a national star preaching on radio). According to Milton Berle’s autobiography, McPherson wasn’t strictly an angel. He reports bedding her for two nights of torrid lovemaking in her Los Angeles hotel room. He does not report whether he was dressed in drag at the time. Sister Aimee bombed in vaudeville, by the way. She might not have, if the relationship with Berle had gotten out.
Here is the real McCoy, in all her radiant glory:
To find out more about show business past and present, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.
And please see my new book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc