MEYER MONTH – The Bodacious Babette Bardot

12 Mar

Once viewed, Babette Bardot is never forgotten. Tall, curvaceous, well stacked, a perfect red pout and inches of voluminous platinum blonde hair. Think of your typical hourglass-figured caricature and you’ve got Bardot, thick fluttering black eyelashes and all. She only starred in two of Russ Meyers films, Mondo Topless and Common Law Cabin, but she made one hell of an impression. And yet, I know very little about her, so tried to piece together as much as I could find to create some sort of rounded profile on the girl.

babette

Swedish-French Babette Bardot was born in Goteborg, Sweden in 1940. She’s quoted by Meyer biographer Jimmy McDonough in his book Big Bosoms and Square Jaws as being  ‘the fourth cousin of Brigette Bardot‘ although there seems to be some contention online as to whether or not this is actually true. Another fact up for questioning is whether or not she really did model for artist Pablo Picasso in her teens which she exclaims she did. At some point in the early 1960s she became a cheesecake model and was a regular in glamour and pin-up magazines, appearing in Fling, Adam and Escapade to name a few. Judging from earlier pictures of her she has at some point had a fair amount of cosmetic surgery. I didn’t know whether her breasts were real or not, and had yet to read anything that said either way, until it was confirmed for me by Diana Hart in her book Under The Mat that she’d had a boob job. Looking at early pictures and comparing them to her later look in Russ Meyers films, it’s also clear that she had some sort of nose surgery and maybe even lip fillers. You wonder whether her caricature look was one that she had intended to construct for a long time.

babette 2

In the early 1960s she apparently worked on two Swedish films but I have found nothing to establish whether or not this is actually true or, if it is, what the titles were. Sexploitation director extroadinaire Russ Meyer found Bardot at the infamous Pink Pussycat on Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood, where she at one point had a headlining strip show (she previously used to dance before the legendary Tura Satana did her routine). Meyer asked her to appear in his mockumentary Mondo Topless and Bardot agreed, bringing some of her fellow co-workers along with her. There is no denying that Babette steals the show in Mondo, with Meyer even giving her assets pompous exaggeration; ‘French and Swedish, fifty-fifty where it counts!’. Once you see the images of her driving around San Francisco, topless, bouncing at every turn and bump, you’ll never be able to erase it from your memory. Even more so when you see her dancing and stripping off next to a train track, an oncoming locomotive in the distance and then roaring past. Only statuesque Babette would be discussing the intricacy of portraying a sexually mature woman with childlike innocence in her routines. Except that she manages to do it pretty easily, peeling off her stockings whilst sucking her thumb. My personal highlight is spotting the bruises up her thighs. Sign of a true pro, Bardot wasn’t once the highest paid stripper in the entire US for any old reason, reportedly earning a regular $2,500 a week.

babette

The following year in 1967 Bardot returned to play a character named after herself in Meyer’s Common Law Cabin. It’s here where Babette really shines, albeit in a glow of european campness. Every line is drooled in her thick French-Swedish accent making some words have an unintentional hilarious different meaning when in conversational context (‘rich’ ends up sounding more like ‘retch’). Having said that she does have some great scenes. I am a big fan of Common Law Cabin but if you’re not convinced, give it a watch just to see her in a tiny, push up bikini chopping fire wood with a machete. Then there’s her exotic fire dance atop a mountain, complete with wailing screams… Bardot plays off against her fellow leading lady Alaina Capri really well creating a memorable performance that stands out amongst those of other Meyer leading ladies. Capri herself said working with Bardot was ‘kind of wild’ which is hardly unsurprising. Accounts give the impression that this woman had a lot of energy, which director Russ would know all about. He claimed to have enjoyed a dalliance with Babette on set, with her frequently staying in his on-set accommodation. In true Meyer fashion, he blamed the films lack of success on the fact that there was too much extra-curricular action on set…

In 1967 she also appeared in I, Marquis de Sade in a minor role as one of de Sade’s girls. I can find very little about her brief role in this but it would again appear that she was hired based on her background of stripping and dancing. This and the two films she did with Russ Meyer appear to be her only film credits.

babette dancing

On the back of her appearances in Meyer’s films and under the guidance of her husband Bob Baker (her manager and leader of the small band that accompanied her act), she toured the US as a burlesque dancer in 1968,  having shows at the Gayety Theatre in New York City, the Town Theatre in Chicago (of which I managed to find a photo essay of one of her routines in which she looks gorgeous) and the Colony Club in Dallas. Bardot toured the burlesque circuit internationally until she set up a residence at the Majestic Inn in Calgary, Alberta. The liberal laws in Alberta allowed her to strip completely nude, although she would maintain her thong during performances. She performed there nightly for six months before heading to Las Vegas where she not only danced but also sung. She also managed time to fit in another night with Meyer… and none other than Uschi Digard. One can only imagine the amount of breast on show that night (Tura Satana once said she was knocked out when she bumped into Bardot in Vegas in the 70s having not seen her since her early Pink Pussycat days, her words ‘silicone does wonders’ pretty much sums up the interaction).

Whilst in Calgary she became friends with the legendary wrestling family The Harts through wrestler Andre The Giant, a regular at her shows. In the early 1970s Bardot and her family, which by this point included two children Bobby and Bianca, would travel to Calgary yearly to perform at the Majestic Inn where she would perform a lunchtime show and an evening show. During this month they would stay with the Hart’s in the big family home. In 1973 Stu Hart billed her as Miss Stampede Wrestling (the wrestling promotion he ran) after spotting her popularity with other wrestlers he worked with (she was also friends with Terry Funk and Dan Kroffat) but it was always Andre at every one of her shows sitting in the front show. Apparently he was reluctant to miss any of her performances and would sometimes turn up late to bookings that Stu had arranged for him because he’d been to see her. Word on the street was that he secretly held more than a flame for her. Bardot appeared at many of the Stampede parades, regularly riding with the wrestling clan on their float. One summer, the horse she was riding on buckled after the float in front of it stopped and Babette was thrown into the road. Apparently in tears in a heap on the floor, she still managed to let her bulging cleavage show to the crowds supposedly embarrassing a young Owen Hart. As Miss Stampede Wrestling Babette also had frequent appearances on the Stampede Wrestling TV show, handing out awards, title belts at wins and greeting big name stars to the ring.

The last known appearance I can find that she did was in 1981, where she headlined the Babette Bardot Review at the Kings Inn Motel in Daytona Beach. It would appear that she passed away at some point in the early 00s. Tura Satana herself suggests on one online forum that Bardot remarried at some point but that her new surname wasn’t known to many people, including her, which renders much information seeking redundant. It’s a real shame because I would have loved to know where this enigmatic woman found herself after 1981 and what she was up to at the time. By all reports she was a lovely lady and left an impression on all those she met, as well as all of us Russ Meyer fans.

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30 Responses to “MEYER MONTH – The Bodacious Babette Bardot”

  1. Mark Nelson August 19, 2013 at 10:39 pm #

    I remember seeing Babette on a daytime talk show in the late 80s/early 90s, Geraldo, Sally Jesse Raphael, or something of that ilk. I couldn’t say what the topic was, but she made an impression. This was before I saw the RM films, so when I first saw COMMON LAW CABIN, I flashed back to seeing BB in that TV appearance.

    • lydiarghgrace September 11, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

      This is interesting, thanks for the heads up. I didn’t come across anything like this online but I’ll have another look, it would be great to see something like that. If I find anything I shall post the link and let you know 🙂

    • lydiarghgrace October 2, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

      I’ve done some searching and, unless I am as blind as a bat, I can’t find any video of Babette online. You were lucky to have caught in on TV when you did!

    • Pamela Thompson Myers August 22, 2014 at 9:39 pm #

      you are and always a nice person remember some girl stole your alblum and I got her and brought it back to you

  2. Sharon September 9, 2013 at 3:29 am #

    As far as I know she is still alive and well. She was living in a senior living facility in the Daytona Beach area about a month ago until she was moved elsewhere. I was able to serve her breakfast, lunch, and dinner. She didn’t say much unless she was asking about meal time.

    • matt weidner March 13, 2017 at 2:38 pm #

      im an attorney seeking information about babette bardot, please call or info if you have any 727 9548752

  3. Rich September 9, 2013 at 3:40 am #

    I know exactly where Miss Babette Bardot now resides. Not in real good health but is alive.

    • lydiarghgrace October 2, 2013 at 8:05 pm #

      This is really interesting. I had heard that she was in Florida, maybe Tura Satana was misinformed. Do you happen to know Babette?

      • Pamela Thompson Myers August 21, 2014 at 4:40 pm #

        I used to talk to her at kings inn were my crowd went wen we wanted to get away,i liked her shows but I also enjoyed he as the person,she was spending time with aan called norman fink then then he opend finkys in Daytona beach,i had a friend managing a club his name was phil welch but he passed on,i don’t think babette would ronce you met her you never forgot heremember us but she made us all happy with her shows and smiles hoope she is still with us

    • matt weidner July 18, 2017 at 9:53 pm #

      i am an attorney desperately seeking any information about maria d. baker, aka babette bardot related to an estate matter
      please call 727 954 8752

  4. Catherine January 6, 2014 at 1:58 am #

    From what I know…Ms Bardot hadn’t died as of 2009… She was my always very naked neighbor in Ormond Beach, FL. It was rather shocking to see at her age but she seemed well lost in her younger years mentally. Her caregivers whom checked on her daily/weekly seemed to be taken advantage of her finances… Our landlord whom owned 4 private apartments on his property took things into his own hands & helped get her places into an adult full care center (or something of the sort). Her daughter died at a very young age (my other half went to school with her) after that Ms. Bardot had hard times dealing with the loss of her daughter. If still alive…she resides in Ormond Beach, FL.

  5. Catherine January 6, 2014 at 2:09 am #

    I will say… I will never forget the day my new neighbor (hadn’t a clue at the time whom she was) just walked into the back door of my apartment without invitation wanting to introduce herself. Days later I first saw the very naked Bardot walking around the back yard by the canal & daily she checked the mail in nothing but a t-shirt (a short t-shirt that didn’t cover anything). From the people I know that knew her, she was a nice lady… Unfortunate for me, I met her when her mind wasn’t the same & it was a sad situation being taken advantage by her caregivers. It was really nice to see this blog as she often crosses my mind.

    • lydiarghgrace March 31, 2014 at 11:28 pm #

      Thank you for your lovely comments Catherine! From everything I’ve read about her, I can imagine she was very happy being a very naked neighbour! I can’t imagine my reaction if I’d been living next door to her! It’s very sad to read about her cognitive decline and her daughter, maybe Tura Satana had gotten her information mixed up with other stuff about Babette that she had heard. It’s been great to see 3 people now comment that they knew her/know she’s possibly still alive. I would love to talk to her about her life and career but I’ll stick to building up an online memory from what I can find on the internet. Thank you for shedding some light on her 🙂

  6. DELILAH JONES aka DORIS GOHLKE September 30, 2014 at 12:55 am #

    Russ Meyers mentioned that Babette passed away in the late 70s, from Silicone that traveled to her lungs.
    i worked with her at the Club Largo in 1960/61 and also did the Red Rowe show with her in 1965
    DELILAH JONES aka DORIS GOHLKE

  7. Damien Bardo February 5, 2015 at 4:43 pm #

    My family lived near the Kings Inn in Daytona Beach in the early 80’s. I remember she stage show quite well. My late mom owned a woman’s fashion boutique in Daytona and Barbette was one of her favorite customers. She always made time to sit and chat with us whenever we went to her show. I remember bringing a bunch of my college fraternity brothers to one of her shows! They never forgot it!

  8. danabear70 March 5, 2015 at 3:31 pm #

    My mother was friends with Babette and Norm Fink in the 80’s. Also, my brother worked at the King’s Inn restaurant in like 81’ish for a while. We all knew Babette and she was last living in the Aliki Condominium in Ormond Beach before my mother lost contact with her in the 90’s. I have no clue where she is now but she certainly did NOT die in the 70’s. She was alive and well throughout the 80’s and 90’s.

    • matt weidner July 18, 2017 at 9:53 pm #

      i am an attorney desperately seeking any information about maria d. baker, aka babette bardot related to an estate matter
      please call 727 954 8752

  9. Sarah (Baker) Levron August 2, 2015 at 3:58 am #

    I was happy to find this article. Babette is my grandmother. The mother of my father David Baker. Bob Baker adopted my dad when he married my grandmother. He also have my father his last name “Baker.” Bob Baker, is known to me and my sisters as “Pops” I didn’t know he was my dads step father until I became older. I only saw my grandmother one time in my life. That was a little over 20 years ago (After 1981). At that time she was living in a beautiful beach house near Orlando, Florida. She was very nice. I thought she was too beautiful to be a grandmother. Haven’t heard from her since. However, I do know she is NOT DEAD. I found out from my father that She had a house fire not to long ago, but she wasn’t hurt physically. Maybe she just doesn’t want to be found. Uncle Bobby lived with my father and Bob for a little while, after my parents split when I was 9. He didn’t seem right to me. I prefer not to go into detail at this time. Anyway, I have always wondered why I didn’t see my dad’s side of the family as often as my mother’s. Everytime I asked my father about Pops (Bob) or my grandmother, he always changed the subject. Everything I know about them, besides the few memories from my child hood, was learned from searching the Internet (Which is sad to me). However this article is different than the others. This one answered the question I’ve always wanted to know. The reason I wasn’t a part of this awesome family, was because Bob never claimed my dad or his children. My father was his step-son, and that’s as far as it went. Ironically, the last time Pops came down, him and my dad went to a coin show in New Mexico. He’s doing fine. He did remarry at one point to a woman named Harriott. She was the only one that sent us a present for Christmas when we were little. Unfortunately, she passed away years ago. I can go on forever, but I’m not. I only want to make a point. I will be 29 on the 10th of this month. It took that long to finally start learning about where I come from! That is wrong. ..so wrong. Why would you somw one agree to adopt a child, give that child his name, and then not mention him in any part of your public life. I read 2 children: Bobby and Bianca (who also died years ago- she was murdered) I haven’t seen my father’s name “David Baker” in any text or writing at all.

    • lydiarghgrace August 29, 2016 at 8:30 pm #

      Hi Sarah,

      I’m so sorry that it’s taken me over a year to see your reply. I’m happy to hear that this article answered some questions and I hope it’s given you some insight into part of your family. I have received many emails since writing this telling me that Babette is still alive, maybe before its too late you can try and meet her. I have some pictures of her that I can email you if you’d like, and eventually I’m hoping to update this article and do a little bit more research into her. Please feel free to get in touch again.

      Lydia 🙂 xx

      • cascornacc November 26, 2016 at 11:53 pm #

        Hi Lydia, I am Bianca Baker’s first and only daughter. She passed away when I was 2 years old. I would love if you could send me some pictures of my grandmother. I only met her once, when I was 2, when she came to my mother’s funeral. Please email me at: cassandra.cornacchia@ryerson.ca. All the best

      • matt weidner July 18, 2017 at 9:52 pm #

        i am an attorney desperately seeking any information about maria d. baker, aka babette bardot related to an estate matter
        please call 727 954 8752

    • cascornacc November 26, 2016 at 11:50 pm #

      Sarah!!! I would love to get in touch with you. I am Bianca Baker’s daughter. So you are my cousin!! I live in Toronto, Canada. I have never met Babette or Bob. I haven’t been able to get in touch with them. Please email me if you wish at: cassandra.cornacchia@ryerson.ca to continue this conversation.

    • matt weidner July 18, 2017 at 9:52 pm #

      i am an attorney desperately seeking any information about maria d. baker, aka babette bardot related to an estate matter
      please call 727 954 8752

  10. Bobby Babbitt September 30, 2015 at 10:32 pm #

    MY NAME IS BOB BABBITT, I played the sax & was her lead singer back in 1972/73. her husband / mgr. was Bobby Baker. we booked thru ARKA Booking(Bob Harris, Benton, Wisconsin). we 1st played at Lucille’s in East Dubuque, IL.(a lot of history in east dubq.)
    I talked with Babette a few years ago when she was still on her own in FL. then I visited Bob Baker in Las Vegas, New Mexico 4years ago(2011) he was 8o, he shared with me then babette was in a nursing home, God Bless Her. she was a hard worker & a fabulous performer!!
    we played in Edmonton, Alberta at Tito’s Italian restoronte, Toledo, Ohio @ The Carousel Lounge, Nashville, all over the Midwest, & Lacrosse, Wisc.
    Babette was a legend.

    • matt weidner July 18, 2017 at 9:52 pm #

      i am an attorney desperately seeking any information about maria d. baker, aka babette bardot related to an estate matter
      please call 727 954 8752

  11. Kelli baker January 14, 2016 at 8:46 pm #

    This is my grandma! I wish I was in contact with her. I have no idea how to find her.

    • cascornacc November 26, 2016 at 11:54 pm #

      Hello Kelli Baker, Babette is my grandmother as well! I am Bianca’s daughter. So that means you are my cousin. I would love to get in touch with you. Please email me at: cassandra.cornacchia@ryerson.ca All the best to you

    • matt weidner March 13, 2017 at 2:35 pm #

      im an attoney seeking information about babette bardo 7279548752

    • matt weidner July 18, 2017 at 9:51 pm #

      kelli…i am an attorney desperately seeking any information about maria d. baker, aka babette bardot
      please call 727 954 8752

  12. Ashley Leibowitz March 13, 2017 at 3:32 pm #

    Hello, I am desperately trying to find Babette and just came across this blog. If anyone knows her where abouts please contact me. I am Norm Finks Daughter and grew up with Babette as my “step mom” although my father never married her… they were together for 13 years. I know she was in a nursing home but I do not know which one. Thank you for any help locating her.

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