Sally Rand was born on April 3, 1904 and is an American dancer. She is famous for her ostrich feather fan dance. She also went by the stage name Billie Beck and performed at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair.
She paved the way for every sex symbol to follow, from Marilyn Monroe to Lady Gaga. She was even immortalized in The Right Stuff, cartoons and a football play. But she ended her life penniless and in debt.
The story goes that Rand was a Kansas City chorus girl who began to hone her craft in summer stock and traveling theater, but she realized she had the potential for a bigger career in Hollywood. She enrolled in drama and ballet classes but eventually decided she would be best served by a career in burlesque.
It is said that Rand, who billed herself as Miss America's Sweetheart and the Star of the Gay Paree, was the first to popularize the art of the fan dance in burlesque. However, rival Faith Bacon disputed this claim and said she invented the act.
In addition to her burlesque shows, Rand was an excellent tap dancer and was often featured in vaudeville and silent movies as a singer and actress. She was also known for her acrobatics and her ability to balance several props in the air. She died in Glendora, California at the age of 75. Her grave is in the Calvary Cemetery in Glendora, California.