Oldest still performing showgirl-Dorothy
Dale Kloss sets world record
PALM SPRINGS, CA, USA -- Dorothy Dale
Kloss, an 85-year-old sensation of youth and energy is
continuing a dance career that began decades ago, in the 1930s-stting
the world record for the Oldest
still performing showgirl.
She began dancing when she was three years old. As
a precocious Chicago teenager, she taught a young Bob Fosse
how to tap dance, won a tap contest herself at the renowned
Miss Abbott’s Dance School and catapulted to stardom at the
age of 15 with her own act in the Empire Room of the Palmer
She performed with the famed Eddy Duchin
orchestra until his band members were drafted during World
War II and then danced for the USO. Touring the United States
and Mexico, she was on stage at various times with Liberace,
the Mills Brothers, Mel Torme, Cantinflas, Howard Keel, Kay
Starr, Frankie Laine and Chico Marx and was accompanied in
her routines by such noted big bands as those of Ray Noble,
Skinnay Ennis, Les Brown and Shep Fields (and his Rippling
In 1946, Dorothy became the hostess and dance
instructress on television for Chicago’s WBKB and did the
first tap numbers on the little screen.
She still does tap solos in her 14th season with
Follies. Doting Dorothy has an admiring son and two
What is your favorite Route 66 recollection?
“Driving with my mom, dad and two brothers on the historic
road from Chicago to St. Louis, singing from a song sheet.”
MORE FUN FACTS:
* She was paid $35 for the first week of the
Empire Room gig and still has the canceled check. She used
the money to buy a dress for her mother, who created her costumes.
* Miss Abbott, who booked her, changed her name
to Dorothy Dale (from Hunn).
* She isn’t shy about what inspired her to audition
at 70 for the Follies. “Money, success and fame,” she says
and adds with a laugh, “Two out of three ain’t bad.”
* And she doesn’t worry about her feet
and body aching after a performance. “I soak them,” she quips
mischievously, “in vodka.”
* On a serious note, the most challenging
experience of her life was being diagnosed with colon cancer
two decades ago and making a full recovery after surgery.
“I just never thought about it,” she says. “I just changed
my thinking and my eating habits.”
* Personable Dorothy has also put on shows
for the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and was director of
guest services for the Queen Mary in Long Beach.