Carol Doda, Famed Stripper and Lounge Performer, Dies at 78

Illustration for article titled Carol Doda, Famed Stripper and Lounge Performer, Dies at 78

San Francisco celebrity and legendary stripper Carol Doda has died from complications of kidney failure at the age of 78. Doda was one of the first dancers in San Francisco to dance topless, sparking a trend that would ultimately change the city.

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In the sixties, Doda performed as part of a lounge act at San Francisco’s Condor Club. In the act, she would dance as she was lowered from the ceiling atop of a piano powered by hydraulic motors. In 1964, she designed a new costume that was completely topless. She debuted her bare number during the Republican National Convention and became international news. Soon, other San Francisco clubs began featuring topless dancers and the trend then went national.

As her friend Lee Housekeeper told the AP, “When the (beatniks) were handing the torch to the hippies, a girl named Carol Doda changed the world from a pole at the corner of Columbus Avenue and Broadway.”

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Doda performed at the Condor Club until 1985, acting in movies and modeling, as well. After leaving, she performed comedy, sang, danced, and operated her own lingerie store. Stripping, her first professional love, was never far from her heart.

Doda passed away Monday, November 9. She is survived by her strong community and the fans who adore her.


Contact the author at madeleine@jezebel.com.

Image via the AP.

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DISCUSSION

I am going to miss this woman terribly, and am hoping beyond all hopes someone keeps her shop open. When I got married a couple years ago, the wedding boutique suggested I check out her lingerie shop for a bra to go with my wedding dress. I have an extremely narrow back than is typical of my cup size, and Macys, Victoria’s Secret, and even Nordstrom do not carry strapless bras in my size that would work with the dress.

I headed over to her shop the next week and had one of the best bra shopping experiences of my life. First off, Carol - hilarious eccentric lady. She was so fun to talk to and clearly knows her stuff. Her shop was a bit disorganized - tons of boxes, open and still taped shut, lots of different styles everywhere, definitely not department store organized. I then go to tell her my size and she goes - “Stop, dont tell me.” Carol then just looks at my boobs - just looks at them, while I am fully clothed, does not ask to even see my bra. A little nod of the head and she’s off. She starts pulling bras off the wall looking at sizes, opening boxes, and digging through piles.

About 5 minutes later, she comes back with a bra for my wedding dress and another really cute “everyday bra” because “this will look cute on you”, hands them to me and walks me to the dressing room.

I am in there trying them on and BOTH. FIT. PERFECTLY. This NEVER happens to me, ever.

I walked out a happy customer and shocked it took me as long as it did to discover Carol Doda and her magical bra shop.

Peace out Carol — you will be missed.