Skip to main site content.

Naked innovator

“The Susan B. Anthony” of topless dancing, Carol Doda, dies at 78

By WITW Staff on November 12, 2015

The go-go dancer considered to be the innovator of topless dancing died this week at the age of 78. Friends of Carol Doda say the legendary dancer died on Monday in a San Francisco hospital due to kidney failure complications. In June of 1964, a then 26-year-old Doda jumped on stage at the go-go club where she worked and, in an unplanned moment, danced topless. Her naked act, thanks in part to its groundbreaking nature and her eye-catching anatomy, was scandalous — and an instant hit. “I was the first to go topless in 1964 and started a sexual revolution that spun as fast as twirling tassels,” she recalled in an interview earlier this year. Indeed it did. Later that summer, the Republican National Convention came to town and delegates flocked to the club where Doda worked to see her dance. Just like that a national sensation was born and topless dancing spread to clubs in cities all around the nation. A newspaper columnist declared Doda “the Susan B. Anthony of this particular liberating movement.” She starred in several films, including the 1968 movie head featuring the Monkees and co-written by Jack Nicholson. Doda played a buxom blond named Sally Silicone, as pictured in the photo above. Eventually the club Doda danced in was raided by police, but she escaped indecency charges and continued dancing well into the 1980s.

Read the full story at The New York Times.