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

In Depth

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.

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.”

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.

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Image via the AP.

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