January 4, 2006

Juanita Dale Slusher, AKA Candy Barr.

From the obituary for a stag film star:
As a young child ... she was molested by a male babysitter. When she was 9, her mother died. Her father remarried, and she said the harsh discipline of her stepmother impelled her to run away when she was in the ninth grade. A marriage at 14 to a safecracker ended in divorce.

She said a man she met at a club forced her to do the blue movie, sometimes saying he drugged her.

"I was taken, done and that was it" ...

She dyed her hair blond and progressed from cigarette girl to an exotic dancer well known enough to require a flashy name. She loved chocolate, hence Candy Barr.

She shot her second of four husbands in the stomach in January 1956 after he came home drunk and threatened her. He said that he deserved it, and a grand jury dismissed charges. She soon got a booking to strip in Las Vegas, and, in 1957, played a comedy role in a legitimate theater in Dallas.

Later that year she was arrested for possession of marijuana in a case that drew wide attention because of Texas's tough new drug laws and questions about the legality of wiretapping by the Dallas police. During her appeal, she made $2,000 a week stripping in Las Vegas and Los Angeles to music specially composed for her. Around this time, she dated Mickey Cohen, an infamous mobster in the West.

After the Texas Supreme Court upheld her conviction, she served three years of a 15-year sentence. She wrote a poetry book in prison and emerged in a somber black outfit, quoting Bible verses.
In a real life, it's better that your story have no plot.

12 comments:

Pogo said...

I have little doubt that her claims of coercion in the stag film are true (can a teenager truly consent to such a thing?).

She was resilient in many ways, it appears, but her upbringing left her unprepared and exploitable.

The obituary certainly raises the question: Which is wiser, a colorfully risky life with a final blurb in the paper, or to spend few years, if any, living dangerously, and remain unsung but by family and friends?

Dunk said...

What, no picture of her in her prime?

Jacob said...

Those were good days when gangsters had names like "Mickey Cohen"

price said...

This makes me miss my mom. I'll go call her...

chuck b. said...

"She shot her second of four husbands in the stomach in January 1956 after he came home drunk and threatened her. He said that he deserved it, and a grand jury dismissed charges."

This made me oddly happy. I might be a bad person, but I believe some people do deserve to get shot! Let the jury decide.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Jacob: I wonder if Micky Cohen has a brother RICKY COHEN, aka RLC, aka ex-husband of the blog hostess. Part of Meyer Lansky's bunch, right?

Professor A: In real life, doesn't most everyone end up in a plot?

. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
a friend said...

Candy and I were friends during the year 1967. We and some other friends were with her when she performed at the Texas Prison Rodeo in Huntsville.
I spent time with her in Houston, her hometown of Edna, and at her home in Las Vegas.
Candy could be kind and thoughtful or cold and distant and you never knew which mood would be next. She had only one child as the reports state. I never met her daughter.
She and I were exactly the same size and build. She was 9 years older than me. Another trivia thing about her was that she still used the old pin curls method to curl her hair (after shampooing her hair she would separate several strands and wind them up into a small circle and put a bobby pin on the wet curl.

She was a dyed-in-the-wool Texan who always went back home.
She did not smoke cigerattes or drink hard liquor, however, she sure did cuss a lot. Candy had become jaded over the years with men and her chosen career in the club life, etc. I hope she found some peace and happiness in her senior years.

mimi said...

any idea where one might find her poetry?

Tami said...

Aunt Nita did have a tendancy for the dramatic, however my great-grandmother was not harsh but fair. All the children had to do chores, and the "child" that she had? My great-grandmother took care of that child. She was spoiled rotten. She also did playboy if I am correct in the stories. The little kids did not speak to much with her, she did leave a secluded life but she was happy.

lbartley said...

Someone has posthumously published a website about the life and times of Candy Barr. A few short excerpts from her book are there and you can also buy her book there.

www.candy-barr.com

Juanita Dale Slusher said...

I discovered Candy Barr while tending to my hobby of reading the obituaries. I had just purchased a 1957 Thunderbird, and instantly thought to put her name on the license plate. After toying with her name for a couple of minutes to get it down to seven letters, I came up with CNDYBRR. I couldn't believe no one had had it! Candy's name appears on my dusk rose T-Bird. Most people think I have "candybar" on my plate because I am Black. But the older men recognize the name right away. The teens who I teach have told me where I can get a fake drivers' license, so I am going to get Juanita Dale Slusher on one this summer.