If there is one thing to be said about the legendary Patti Waggin, it’s that her energy was intoxicating. Born in 1926 to vaudevillian parents, Patti, born Patricia Artae Brownwell, grew up with show business running through her veins. After dropping out from Chico State College in California, she began to perform burlesque throughout the country. She was well known throughout her career, and by the time she met her third husband, professional baseball player, Don Rudolph, she was appearing on the top 10 lists of strippers in the country.
Patti Waggin’s burlesque numbers were fun, energetic, and quirky. Her movements were very reminiscent of her times, performing mostly bump and grind burlesque. She was captivating onstage, often giving a smile and a friendly wink, inviting the audience to have fun with her.
Off stage Patti was quite the athlete, having participated and won in various motor cycle races. While she was married to Don, she would often put on a catcher’s mitt and help her beloved husband warm up for the game. Don was incredibly supportive of his wife and her chosen career, often ignoring the field chatter from the opposing team and their thoughts on Patti’s profession. One of his plans for life after baseball was to open a club for his wife and call it Don Rudolph’s Patti Waggin. Sadly, he died in a tragic car accident in 1968 at the age of 37.
Patti was considered one of the friendliest girls on the burlesque circuit and even answered all her own fan mail. She kept these letters and incorporated them into a book called, “Fan Letters To A Stripper: A Patti Waggin Tale.” In 1992, she passed away from an intestinal disorder.
Patti’s style of burlesque is one of my favorites. The athleticism she incorporated into her routines, her delightful smile, and her bumps that won’t stop are reasons why she is one of my favorite burlesque legends. You can read more about here on her official website here.