I know many of you may think this is a picture of the Virgin Mary herself or maybe even the long sought after photo of Zenaida Gonzalez a.k.a Zanny The Nanny. No my babies , it is none other then the unrivaled queen of 70's pop culture and goddess of underground cinema Edith Massey. In what I hope to become a weekly column on stars of yesteryear that are sadly no longer with us , we will take a look at the fabulous life of a true icon , Ms. Edith Massey . Enjoy !
Edith Massey's early years are a bit sketchy, poor thing . Born in 1918 in either San Francisco or New York , she was soon placed in Dickensian orphanage near Denver , Co. Poor little Edith was soon sent off at the tender age of 15 to work as a maid , she soon ran away and was placed in a girl's reformatory. Amidst all this chaos Edith dreamed of a career in the Hollywood industry which eventually sent her once again on the run , this time to California . Edith Claims to have made her film debut in the 1940 romance Arise, My Love ( starring Claudette Colbert ).
Over the next 30 years Edith bounced around doing everything under the sun to stay afloat in the world , everything from tap dancer in a seedy burlesque club to madam at a whorehouse. Eventually Edith came upon the trashy Fells Point waterfront district in Baltimore , Maryland , working as a barmaid at a local tavern. Eddy's constant jabber and oddball conversations eventually caught the eye of a young John Waters. Waters was instantly hooked on Edith's character and asked her to play herself in as well as the Virgin Mary in his landmark trash epic Multiple Maniacs.
Edith's first film appearance.
Edith became a regular in the underground film scene playing such memorable characters as " The Egg Lady " in Pink Flamingos , " Queen Carlotta " in Desperate Living , and of course " Aunt Ida " in Water's seminal classic Female Trouble. Edith became an iconic figure in the " midnight " movie circuit and even enjoyed a brief singing career doing covers of such iconic songs such as " Fever" and " Big Girls Don't Cry", the latter of which can be found on World's Worst Records Vol. 1 ( released 1983). Edith also appeared in a documentary about her life in 1972 titled " Love Letters to Edie " and later and more in depth in " Edith's Shopping Bag" . Soon after making it big our lovely lady was discovered by none other then John Cougar Mellencamp and featured as his dream girl in his 1981 video " This Time " , as well as a role in the 1984 sci -fi chessefest " Mutants In Paradise".
Edith Massey in " This Time ".
John Water's himself has stated that Edith was a character all of her own. John Says " When the reviews for polyester came out one stated that Edith either deserved an Academy Award or a 24hr nurse...." to which she replied " ..... I'd Like both ". It has also been said that when Edith eventually lost all of her teeth that she had dentures custom made with her trademark gap in place. A true " star " to the very end the world lost Edith Massey in 1984 due to complications to cancer and diabetes. You will be missed my love, you will be missed. Below you can sample on a couple more videos that feature the fabulous Ms. Massey herself. Until next weeks my dears. Muah!
Edith Massey Sings " Fever"
Edith in my fave role " Aunt Ida " from " Female Trouble".
Last , but not least......
Edith Auditions for a role in Paul Bartel's " Lust In The Dust ". Why was she not a shoe in ......
What do you think, babies ?