Born Annie Banks, Tempest Storm became the highest paid burlesque dancer in the '50s, and she kept performing until 2010

By Glenn Garner
April 21, 2021 07:46 PM
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Tempest Storm
Credit: Jeff Goode/Getty Images

Tempest Storm, a burlesque legend known for appearing in several Russ Meyer films, has died. She was 93.

The veteran exotic dancer (née Annie Banks) died Tuesday in her Las Vegas apartment, surrounded by fellow burlesque performers Kalani Kokonuts, Miss Redd and longtime friend and business partner, Harvey Robbins.

Robbins confirmed the news of her death to The Las Vegas Review-Journal. Storm previously underwent hip surgery, and she had been previously diagnosed with dementia.

Born in Eastman, Georgia, in 1928, she made the move to Hollywood and began dancing as Tempest Storm when she was 17.

A few years later, she signed a 10-year contract for $100,000 a year with the Bryan-Engels burlesque chain, becoming the highest paid burlesque performer in history.

She also had her breasts insured for $1 million by Lloyd's of London.

Tempest Storm
Credit: Evan Hurd/Getty Images

Shortly after making the move to Los Angeles, she befriended her neighbor Marilyn Monroe.

Storm also appeared in Bettie Page's final film Teaserama in 1955 and starred in several other exploitation films as well, including The French Peep Show (1949), Paris After Midnight (1951) and Striptease Girl (1952).

Storm was romantically linked to Elvis Presley, Mickey Rooney, Louis Armstrong, Sammy Davis Jr. and gangster Mickey Cohen, among others.

With three marriages already behind her, she was wed to actor and jazz musician Herb Jeffries from 1959 to 1967, and they shared a daughter, Patricia.

Tempest Storm
Credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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Storm performed well into her 80s, making her final onstage appearance in June 2010 at a Burlesque Hall of Fame reunion show. She fractured her hip that night, putting an end to her work as a dancer.

She was interviewed by Jack White in 2011 for the album Interview with Tempest Storm, released through White's label. Storm was also the subject of the Nimisha Mukerji documentary Tempest Storm: Burlesque Queen, which premiered in 2016.