Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Vintage Ad (1926): Tuxedo Tobacco

In 1926 Gilda Gray, then 25, was at the height of her career when her likeness appeared in this ad for Tuxedo tobacco.

Gray was born in Poland (as Marianna Michalska) and came to the U.S. with her parents as a child. She rose to fame in vaudeville and became known for her trademark dance, called the "shimmy." During the 20s she achieved some fame in the movies, but suffered seriously in the financial crash of 1929 and her career never really recovered. She died in 1959 at the age of 58. The Motion Picture Relief Fund paid for her funeral expenses.

During the Cold War era she worked to bring six Polish citizens to the United States, and after they were here she helped pay for their educations. For this she was decorated by Poland "for her interest and help to her countrymen and her country."

She didn't smoke a pipe, but apparently she liked men who did.

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