Blaze Starr, dancer linked to Earl K. Long, dead at 83

  By The Associated Press

     CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Blaze Starr, a “knockout” burlesque icon and stripper who drew tourists to post-World War II Baltimore, lent glamour to New Orleans and became known far and wide for her affair with a colorful mid-century Louisiana governor, died Monday. She was 83.

   She died at her Wilsondale, West Virginia, home after experiencing heart issues during the past few years, said her nephew Earsten Spaulding.

   Born Fannie Belle Fleming in Wayne County, West Virginia, Starr long performed at the Two O’Clock Club in Baltimore, earning her the nickname, “The Hottest Blaze in Burlesque.”

   She’s better known for what   happened when she landed at the Sho-Bar club in New Orleans.

   That’s where Starr famously had an affair with Louisiana Gov. Earl K. Long, who served in the 1940s and 1950s.

   Gus Weill, one of Louisiana’s first political consultants who got his start in politics in the 1960s, said Starr was a “knockout” beauty who gave New Orleans glamor. He did not know her personally.

   “They had the romance and history, and she added a good dollop of glamour,” Weill said about her contribution to New Orleans. “She was a wonderful dancer and much loved.”

   Ted Jones, an 81-year-old former aide to Long, said Long’s affair was the reflection of “a 60-year-old man trying to reinvent his life.”