In the spirit of our recent post on Marion Meade, we thought we’d use the occasion of Leslie Zemeckis’s natal day for a brief appreciation of, like, everything she’s ever done (with fervent hopes that, unlike Meade, she will live and produce many more cool works long after I hit the “publish” button.)
We first became aware of Zemeckis via her first film, 2010’s terrific classic burlesque documentary Behind the Burly Q (with its accompanying 2014 book). And we have been enraptured by everything she has turned out since, including the Hilton Sisters documentary Bound By Flesh (2012) (Zemeckis shares a birthday with the Hilton Sisters), the book Goddess of Love Incarnate: The Life of Stripteuse Lili St. Cyr (2016), the documentary Mabel, Mabel Tiger Trainer (2018) about the ultimate cat lady Mabel Stark; the book Feuding Fan Dancers: Faith Bacon, Sally Rand, and the Golden Age of the Showgirl (2018), and her most recent film Grandes Horizontales: Sex, Decadence and the Second Empire (2022), about famous courtesans, more fuel for the flames of my ongoing Francophilia.
As an actress Zemeckis has appeared (or done voice-over) in some of the films of her husband Robert Zemeckis (whom we are overdue to write about) including The Polar Express (2004), Beowolf (2007), A Christmas Carol (2009) and Welcome to Marwen (2018). She also appeared in Enfants Terrible (2005) with Christopher Lloyd and From Zero to I Love You (2019). Her earlier screen career (1984-2000) looks to be a lively body of low-budget horror and sexy exploitation films that surely jibe with her interest in classic burlesque.
In 2005 she starred in her own burlesque revue Staar at L.A.’s Conga Room. Thus has she walked the walk when it comes to the art of classy undraping, inspired, she has said, by Gypsy Rose Lee. (Not for nothin’ but Gypsy wrote books, too!)
Zemeckis loves to encourage and mentor up and coming female writers. For more on that work, and all things Leslie Zemeckis, go here.
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