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 House.
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 Rhythm).
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 the Fabulous Follies. Doting Dorothy has an admiring son and two granddaughters.
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.