Archiver > WORLD-OBITS > 2007-01 > 1169989160

From: "Peter McCrae" <>
Subject: [W-OBITS] RENAY: Pearl Elizabeth Dobbins Renay 22/1/2007
Date: Sun, 28 Jan 2007 04:59:20 -0800

Liz Renay
Last Updated: 2:04am GMT 27/01/2007

Liz Renay, who died on Monday aged 80, was by turns a Las Vegas showgirl,
gangster's moll, convicted felon, cult actress, stripper, streaker and charm
school instructor.

Convicted of perjury in 1959 when her boyfriend, the racketeer Micky Cohen,
was tried for tax evasion, she spent 27 months in prison, a sentence she
always regarded as fatal to her career prospects as a budding film star.

As it was, her screen appearances were largely confined to such low-budget
productions as The Thrill Killers (1964), Lady Godiva Rides (1969),
Interlude of Lust (1981) and The Corpse Grinders 2 (2000). Perhaps her
landmark role was as a murderess in John Waters's Desperate Living (1977).

She was born Pearl Elizabeth Dobbins at Mesa, Arizona, on April 14 1926.
Raised by fanatically religious parents, she ran away from home to enter a
Marilyn Monroe lookalike contest (which she won) and became a Las Vegas
showgirl and 44DD bra model.

An inveterate attention-seeker, she first came to notice in 1950 when her
antics on a film set in Phoenix earned her a five-page picture spread in
Life magazine headed "Pearl's Big Moment".

Working as a stripper in New York, she dated Tony Coppola, bodyguard to
Albert Anastasia, head of Murder Inc, before leaving for Hollywood in 1957.
As Liz Renay, she worked at a charm school between taking small television
parts fixed by Micky Cohen.

The pair were often photographed canoodling together, and when Cohen was
accused of laundering mob money through her bank account she was jailed for

On her release, she toured with her daughter in a double striptease act; and
in 1974, watched by a crowd of 4,000, she became the first grandmother to
streak down Hollywood Boulevard at high noon. Although it was a publicity
stunt for a film, the authorities charged her with indecent exposure. She
was acquitted.

In one of her several memoirs, My First 2,000 Men, she claimed to have had
flings with numerous celebrities, including the baseball player Joe DiMaggio
and Cary Grant.

Liz Renay's seven marriages ended in divorce. Her daughter committed suicide
on her 39th birthday in 1982.

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