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1st November 2019
Charmion was an American Vaudeville act during the late 1800's and early 1900's. Her strongwoman performances and acrobatic feats (including the trapeze) were an integral part of her act, which for the era was quite unusual gaining her some renown. However, her real infamy came from her acts of striptease during some of these performances. One of these performances was captured on film in 1901, making her (we believe) the first recorded striptease artist on this new form of media.
Charmion's real name was Laverie Vallee (nee Cooper).
Charmion was born on 18th July 1875, in Sacramento, California, USA . Very little is known about her parents/family or childhood.
Charmion began performing in her teens and included disrobing, or striptease, into her show by her late teens.
Charmion would walk on stage in full Victorian ladies clothing and mount a trapeze. Here she would start removing items of her clothing whilst performing an acrobatic routine. She never removed all her clothing, just down to her leotard (traditional clothing for strongmen and acrobats of this era). However, just appearing in a leotard (for a female) was considered scandalous and extremely risque, let alone disrobing in full public view!
One such a performance was recorded by the Thomas Edison company, on their new media "film", on 11th November 1901...
Due to the impropriety of this public disrobing, the firm producers thought it necessary to include two men viewing the performance. Thus giving viewers of the film a cue that this was a fun and exciting spectacle and not something to be outraged by!
Charmion died at the age of 73, on 6th February 1949, in Santa Ana, California, USA. She is buried in Holy Sepulcher Cemetery in Orange, Orange County, California.
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