Jill Huntley aka "Miss Dean of Tease" aka "The Huntress" aka "The Half and Half Girl" was yet another of those burlesque Queens who danced with a rubber King. Here she ponders her romantic partner while holding him up with her middle finger. Jill Danced with the greats. Blaze Starr, Mitzi Dore', Sen-Lee Fu (the oriental wow girl" and DoMay "the Gorgeous Cherokee Half-Breed" and Rose La Rose. Famous names to some still today.
It helped to have a gimmick in Burlesque. I don't think it helped bring in patrons necessarily…as they were there to see breasts…but I think it helped the performers feel they were bringing something to the stage other than their anatomy. Some dancers from the "golden age" of burlesque were serious athletes, and Ms. Huntley was one of them. She not only carried her partner onstage, she carried him in a suitcase all the way to her next gig!
Athlete or not, Jill Huntley lived a long, long life and ended up in Pennsylvania. In one Pittsburgh gig, she was apparently under-billed to "Blonde Sunny Dare" who was known as "The Dare Devil of Disrobe". It was real burlesque. A full show, with novelty acts, a buffoon comedian who introduced the acts and a straight man. It was a long way from the tawdry ass-shaking "make it rain" shows of today, and it was not easy work.
Huntley must have lived a low-key life after her dancing days were over. Despite the considerable amount of material here, Jane Briggeman, author of Burlesque: Legendary Stars of the Stage couldn't find her. She adds her name to the "Search is On" list hoping stars and relatives will get in touch. I don't know if Jill ever did. She never took the time to add herself to the web and like a good share of the posts here, it is something of an honor.
There was no shortage of dancers who hired a dummy for their act. They were known as "Half and Half" acts. See Gene Geman HERE and Diane Parker HERE.
True Burlesque the Blog by Jim Linderman Clippings collection Jim Linderman