Candy Barr, born Juanita Dale Slusher, was a burlesque dancer from the 1950s and was the first porn star. She hailed from a tiny town in Texas & was also a bit of a pistol.
She ran away from home at 13 & married at 14. She was divorced by 15 & started working as a cigarette girl in an adult nightclub, getting particularly cozy with the more generous customers.
At 16 she starred in the silent, 20 minute porn flick Smart Alec (1951). In 1956 she shot her estranged second husband in the belly (he survived), & while being released, the immutable minx told the throng of photographers to “make it sexy, boys“.
In 1957 she was arrested for marijuana possession and sentenced to 15 years due to the draconian marijuana laws of the 1950s, but only served 3 years. After her release Candy renounced her life as a stripper; the terms of her parole barred her from performing as an exotic dancer anyway.
But she didn’t stay out of the headlines for long. She was questioned in her connection to Jack Ruby, whom she had been friends with from the Commerce Street nightclub, after he shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald in 1963. In 1969, nearing 35, Candy was reinstated in the American Guild of Variety Artists.
A few years later she published a short book of poetry, some of which had been written in prison, titled “A Gentle Mind…Confused“. The title poem reads:
“Hate the world that strikes you down,
A warped lesson quickly learned,
Rebellion, a universal sound,
Nobody cares … No one’s concerned.
Fatigued by unyielding strife
Self-pity consoles the abused,
And the bludgeoning of daily life
Leaves a gentle mind … confused.”
Candy Barr performed her last burlesque at age 62
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