It’s National Bird Day again! We thought we’d add to the post we’ve already done on bird acts with a special tribute to burlesque star Rosita Royce (Marjorie Rose Corrington, 1918-1954), whose gimmick was birds.
Originally from Lincoln Nebraska, unlike many burlesque performers from back in the day, Rosita came from a relatively middle class background. Her father was a dentist, and she had attended the University of Nebraska and Wesleyan. It is also said that she studied with Ruth St. Denis and that she performed with Earl Carroll’s Vanities, although IBDB shows no Broadway credits (it’s possible she was with a touring version of the show). Some of this may be publicity hype. The info comes from the most complete article I could find about her early years, which is here.
Royce performed during the great heyday of the burlesque industry in the 1930s, and was known for her “Dance of the Doves”, in which specially trained lovebirds would fly away with pieces of her elegant costume, one by one. In essence, it was a case of “bird plucks human”.
She even got to perform a version of this act at the Crystal Palace in the 1939 New York World’s Fair! Her act was one of the most heavily publicized and popular exhibits at the Fair.
You can also see her perform her act in the 1953 movie Striporama. Unfortunately she passed away in Miami the following year, possibly of cancer.
There are clips of Rosita Royce on Youtube; fly away now and watch them!