Gerri Weise AKA Alexandra The Great 48 was always destined to make a splash. As a teenager she had won Sophie Loren look-alike competition and her resemblance to her idol was indeed uncanny. She got her start in Burlesque at age 25 when Rose La Rose spotted her whilst she was modelling for Xavier Cugat. Acting as her mentor, Rose had Alexandra headlining at The Town Hall Theatre within two weeks of their first meeting.
Alexandra said Rose “taught me only part of what I I knew. I learned the rest and it didn’t take long, believe me you find out quickly what an audience wants!”
As Alexandra the Great. she traveled the world as a headliner into the late 1970s. Famously, she once stopped traffic in Honolulu when she paraded her 48-25-42 figure in one of her show costumes and drew a crowds over over 3,000 people. Working long contracts in Hawaii and Vietnam, her career lasted 15 years. In the early 1980s, she became a beautician at Universal Studios before pioneering her own range of beauty products, an industry she continued to work in until her death. “It was a chance for advancement,” she said. “I wanted to use my mind as well as my body.’’ This interest in cosmetic beauty was born of her own desire to stay youthful. “I hate ticking clocks,” she said in an interview with BHoF board member Neil Kendall.
She passed away in the presence of her family at age 79 on February 22, 2019. She will be missed deeply by the many people whose lives she touched in the burlesque world and beyond.
Melanie King says:March 17, 2020 at 4:36 pm
Alexandra the Great 48 lived around the corner from me. When they had her estate sale, I ended up getting her personal (large 40”x40” ) painting of herself. It’s dated 1972 titled ADULATION. It is painted by the famous Australian artist Charles Billich. Would anyone be interested in this painting?
Burlesque Hall of Fame says:March 26, 2020 at 4:51 pm
We’d love to see a picture! Email firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s talk.