Riffs Obits
Published January 4, 2006
Candy Barr Wraps It Up
Candy Barr 1935 - 2005

by Roger The Marquis D'Mexico

The circle is diminished. Candy Barr, exotic dancer, poet and buddy cat of Lord Buckley departed this earthly sphere on Friday, December 30, 2005 in a Victoria, Texas hospital.

She was born Juanita Dale Slusher on July 6, 1935 in Edna, Texas. At 16 she appeared in the 1951 erotic film Smart Aleck. Rumor has it that she was forced to perform at gunpoint."Nita" survived, reinvented herself as Candy Barr, and went on to become a renown Burlesque performer working the Colony Club in Dallas. Had quite a following among the local swells and befriended Jack Ruby. She shot her estranged second husband in 1956. Luckily she only wounded him. "I was aiming for his groin!" She did hard time, not for the gunplay, but for possession of tea. Some say she was railroaded by an unsympathetic community in mortal fear of this Emily Dickinson reading rebel virtuoso of the artfully manipulated tease. The notorious mobster, Mickey Cohen, got a fist in the teeth when she suspected him of looking at another woman. Here was a righteous force of nature who plied her outlaw trade at the cultural perimeter of the buttoned down
Eisenhower years.

Then Lord Buckley blew into her life and the encounter would leave her transformed and a loyal fan. She fondly remembered her mad, whirlwind two week soiree with His Lordship in Dallas in the Fifties. The experience was a passionate, heartfelt education in the beautiful poetry of life. She held him in great regard as a teacher and mentor. Kindred spirits, on fire with life. "Ride the rhyme, that's what Lord Buckley taught me." Ride on Nita.

Roger The Marquis D'Mexico is the Riffs Section's first field correspondent. He reports primarily from Los Angeles but where he actually will file his stories from is anybody's guess. He is also the producer and coconspirator in the creation of the Lord Buckley documentary film, "Too Hip For The Room." In that capacity, he is moved by the passing of these hip elders, like Candy Barr, who hung with Lord Buckley and lived such adventurous and provocative lives.