Sunday, March 13, 2011

When Louise Cooked

Photo: From Rhythm for Sale by Grant Harper Reid
Even when I try to look up a male pothead these days, it seems I find a female. I checked out Milton Berle's autobiography after reading somewhere he'd smoked pot: Turns out he tried it only once, on a date with Harlem exotic dancer Louise Cook, which elevates her to VIP status.

Berle says of Cook, "She was known as one of the greatest belly dancers in the world, and her act was sensational, with everything going like a flag in a hurricane." VIP Louis Armstrong wrote, "Ol Louise Cook--I shall never forget her, and her Dance. --She was so wonderful in her 'Shake dance she would take 5 and 6 Encores."

Cook was married to Herbert Mills of The Mills Brothers and appeared in Oscar Micheaux's breakthrough 1931 film The Exile. Watch her dance in the film.

Read more about Louise.

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