World’s oldest burlesque dancer just finished her summer tour aged 81 – and she only started stripping off a decade ago
Glamorous Lynn Ruth Miller only took up performing ten years ago when she enrolled on a stand-up comedy class.
The former teacher and journalist soon realised she had a talent for making people laugh and started touring American and the UK telling jokes.
She soon decided to incorporate burlesque and stripping into her routine and instantly started winning awards for her unique show.
Cheeky Lynn, who moved from California to Brighton for her new career, has just finished a month-long stint at the Edinburgh Fringe festival.
And last weekend the twice-married pensioner finished her summer tour with an acclaimed show at the Bristol Burlesque Festival.
She said: “I only have to stand up and they cheer. It’s not in the least bit sexy. It is just fun and a joke.
“I’m 81 and I’ve got mother-in-law wings – or what you would call bingo wings – I’m skinny, I have got funny legs and I’m very wrinkled.
“If you look at what the average 80-year-old woman is doing and then look at me, it’s very different.
“I’ve just come back from a month of shows on the Edinburgh Festival and had the best time of my life.
“I’m not telling every 80-year-old to start ripping your clothes off, but I’m saying make every day different.
“Don’t start letting someone pick out your clothes, dress you, feed you – then you’ll just be waiting to die.
“I’m determined to die aged 100 on stage at the Leicester Comedy Festival.
“I’ve always been good at what I’ve done in my life, but never been great, but then I started this and I’m pretty close to great and that’s just marvellous.
“I’m happy, I’m a very happy lady.”
Hilarious Lynn, who doesn’t have any children, worked as a primary school teacher and then a freelance journalist through her life, which saw her marry – and divorce – twice.
Originally from San Francisco, California, she enrolled on a college course to teach stand-up comedy, so she could write a story about learning to be funny.
Much to her surprise she outshone her younger classmates and soon started gigging as a comedian, telling jokes about her age.
A fellow comic suggested she start singing and dancing, and aged 75 she started to strip off in a burlesque-themed show.
“I believe you can’t teach someone to be funny, and I still believe that, but I thought this would make a good story,” she said.
“I had never heard of stand up before – I haven’t had a TV since 1980 and and more interested in opera and theatre.
“On this course I was with a bunch of 18-year-olds who didn’t know what they were doing and I was great.
“I started performing and I got more recognition than I could have imagined.
“It started doing burlesque – it just happened – and I thought ‘oh my good, this is even better than telling jokes’.”
The octogenarian – who is 82 next month – doesn’t totally strip off and protects her modesty by leaving on her underwear and a loose covering on top.
Four years ago she snapped up first place in two competitions at the Texas International Burlesque competition, winning lubricant, condoms, leather and feather dusters.
She got a standing ovation at the Bristol Burlesque Festival last weekend, following a five-star-reviewed show at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year.
Lynn moved to the UK last year because she reckons Brits like her show better, and fits in as many shows as she can across the country.
“I do half as much, and I get twice the response from the audience,” she said.
“I don’t take off all my clothes. The most you see is my knickers that have feathers on them.
“But what people want is to be entertained. It’s not how well you can twirl your tassels, it’s about connecting with the audience and letting them know that you love them.
“I’m crossing generations. I’m almost 82 but I’m talking to 18-year-olds.
“I’m saying to them that they can do whatever they want to do.