Sherry Britton Burlesque History

Serena Doherty May 5, 2016 Burlesque, Burlesque Icons
Sherry Britton Burlesque

Learn the Sherry Britton burlesque history for an insight into the art form’s heyday and a burlesque icon whose influence can still be felt today.

Sherry Britton Burlesque History

New York native, Sherry Britton was born in 1918 and spent much of her childhood in foster care. She soon felt the call of the bright lights and discovered stripping.

The Sherry Britton burlesque name came from a bottle of cream sherry but led to the tagline ‘Great Britton’. She adopted this motif into her burlesque style.

Sherry Britton burlesque shows were all glitz and glamour with long evening gowns, crowns and a score of classical music. This led her to become a favourite at notorious venues like Minsky’s Burlesque.

Another draw to her performances was that enviable petite and buxom figure. At 5″3 tall with an 18 inch waist, we’re sure you can imagine.

The genre reached its height during 1930s burlesque and Britton along with it. Yet, the 1940s burlesque was the beginning of the end with a crackdown in New York.

Sherry Britton, however, turned her form of entertainment towards supporting the troops during WWII. This gained her the honorary title of Brigadier General from President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

She again moved with the times by transitioning into a profession as a cabaret singer and play actor. There she once again flourished and went on to an illustrious career.

Sherry Britton burlesque wasn’t quite tamed, far from it, in 1964 (her 40s) she was banned from The World Fair. She was still just too risque.

Some years later, at the age of 63, Sherry Britton graduated from Fordham University Law School pre-law magna cum laude. It’s no surprise given that her IQ was 165, according to NY Daily News. Brains and beauty, our kinda woman.

Then, on her 75th birthday, she marked the occasion by performing at Broadway’s Marriott Marquee Hotel. This was the site of one of Minsky’s many theatres.

After all her many accomplishments, Sherry Britton died of natural casus at the age of 89 in 2008. She leaves a long legacy we can all look up to.

Watch this Sherry Britton burlesque interview on the road with Best of Burlesque in 1966.

Learn about Ann Corio and watch our quick-fire answer to: what is burlesque?

(Main image from International Center of Photography)