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Val Valentine selected as recipient of the 2023 BHoF Living Legend Award            

CONGRATULATIONS VAL VALENTINE!

Color photo of Val Valentine performing at the 2018 Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekender. She wears a form-fitting white dress covered with closely-spaced silver sequins, elbow-length white gloves, a white boa draped over her arms and behind her back, and a pink flower in her hair. The image is from a low angle; she is facing towards the camera but looking over it. Her blonde hair is cut to about her chin and arranged in large curls.
Color photo of Val Valentine performing at the 2018 Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekender. She wears a form-fitting white dress covered with closely-spaced silver sequins, elbow-length white gloves, a white boa draped over her arms and behind her back, and a pink flower in her hair. The image is from a low angle; she is facing towards the camera but looking over it. Her blonde hair is cut to about her chin and arranged in large curls.

Val Valentine has been selected as this year’s recipient of the BHoF LIVING LEGEND AWARD! Awarded annually during the BHoF Weekender (June 1-4 this year!), the BHoF Living Legend Award recognizes performers who built an exemplary career during burlesque’s classic era and continue to distinguish themselves by their contribution to the burlesque world today. We are honored to recognize Val Valentine with this award.

Val quit school in 1952 to join Mitzi’s Chorus Line, a travelling show under the direction of her mother’s best friend, Mitzi. With Mitzi’s mentorship, she soon became a feature act and by 1958 was headlining the burlesque theater circuit as “Cupid’s Cutie”. Throughout her career, she would spend most of her summers and falls on carnival revues. “Mitzi had taught me a lot so I had a jump start,” she said. “I know to put money in good wardrobe and what to do and how to do it. I was getting raises without asking for them and I moved quickly up to co-feature and then a feature.”

In Chicago, she had stage outfits designed for her by legendary striptease designer and drag artist Tony Midnight. “They fit like a glove,” she told a reporter in 2003. “They were beautiful. … Ice-blue sequins with tulle, and one with pink silver sequins and a black skirt. They were hot. And they wore like iron.”

In another interview, Val told a reporter what she liked best about her career as a burlesque dancer. “It’s a fantastic escape from reality, for myself, for the crowds that come inside the tent to see what’s going on there. They didn’t come in here expecting to see girls who look like their wives and sister. They want to see something glamorous and we try not to disappoint them.”

Val performed on both the burlesque circuit and the carnival circuit for decades. Her last job was in 1986 in Columbus, OH, not far from where she grew up in Toledo. Since then, she has been seen several times on the BHoF stage, the last time in 2019 when she emcee’d the Walk of Fame. (Watch her perform at the Weekender in 2018 at https://vimeo.com/manage/videos/306077307)

We are delighted to honor Val Valentine’s tremendous contribution to burlesque past and present with this award!

Photo credits: 1) James J. Kriegmann 2) James J. Kriegmann 3) Gene Laverne 4) Heather Schofner

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Burlesque Hall of Fame