June 2, 2012 6:17 p.m.
She keeps a life-size cutout of herself as a 19-year-old, when she says she became the first standing semi-nude showgirl in town, a gig that launched her career as a “Folies Bergere” show dancer and actress.
Medford has always traipsed along the wilder side of Las Vegas life — once considering a request from screen legend Cary Grant to bear his child, she says. Later, she admits, she sold cocaine and worked as an assistant to a Las Vegas madam, chauffeuring call girls on shopping trips. Her image was even featured on a 50th anniversary casino chip at the Riviera.
She’s a rebel, an adventuress, who proclaims, “I’ve always thought of myself as Errol Flynn with breasts.”
Last year she chronicled her life in her self-published autobiography, “I Can Hear the Applause: Adult Language … Some Nudity,” co-written with a neighbor, author Jeanne Gulbranson.
The book is a bittersweet tale of a tough-broad survivor. Standing in her living room, the retired stage diva glances at the black-and-white cutout of her former self.
“She was so naive,” she said. “She didn’t know anything.”
She was born Loretta Maloof, a girl with Middle Eastern blood. Her father manufactured women’s clothing in Los Angeles and had some tough guys as friends. One night, infamous Vegas mobster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel came to the house to play poker.
He offered to braid her hair because her father was busy. At age 7, she called him Uncle Benjamin — nobody called him Bugsy to his face. But Bugsy botched the braiding job and she cried, saying that he’d ruined her life.
Now she looks back at the mobster with fondness. “He was handsome; I knew it even then,” she said. “I’ve always had a thing for guys with big blue eyes.”
Medford was hooked on the gangsters who once ran this town. They were gentlemen-clowns who made her laugh — even as an adult. They also gave her father tickets to shows on the Strip, where she got her first look at the beauties with glitzy costumes, towering headdresses and 6-inch stilettos.
Before that, she had dreamed of becoming a lawyer, a private eye or a female Clark Kent. Then, at age 12, she decided she wanted to be a showgirl.
Years later, in 1957, she got her chance. She was working in a Los Angeles talent office when two Vegas characters offered her a gig: Portray a “nude” statue in a Harry Belafonte show at the Riviera.
All her important real estate, she says, was covered with glitter and sparkle. Suddenly, she shifted her arms to reveal her breasts. The crowd went wild.
She claims she was the first woman to bare her breasts at a high-end casino on the Strip. The job led to an 11-year career as a model and showgirl.
Men fawned, but Medford yawned, never considering herself a beauty: “I was 97 pounds and knock-kneed with a big nose, pimples, kinky hair and a unibrow.”
Still, Cary Grant said she reminded him of Sophia Loren. They dated, and the 57-year-old heartthrob made a proposal, she said: Get pregnant with his baby and he’d set her up financially for life. She declined.
“But I spent nights crying, thinking ‘What if I had Cary Grant’s baby?'” recalled Medford, whose home wall of photos includes a black-and-white shot of her and Grant at dinner. “Would my parents really disown me? But I didn’t want kids. He was basically gay, and I wasn’t in love with him.”
using the number/letter grid:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
A = 1 J = 1 S = 1
B = 2 K = 2 T = 2
C = 3 L = 3 U = 3
D = 4 M = 4 V = 4
E = 5 N = 5 W = 5
F = 6 O = 6 X = 6
G = 7 P = 7 Y = 7
H = 8 Q = 8 Z = 8
I = 9 R = 9
3911 4546694 52
her path of destiny = 52 = Vampy. Aging siren.
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