If you came of age during the Sixties,
you may well remember the name Lada Edmund, Jr. who was one of the
original gyrating, mini-skirted go-go girls who danced in a cage on NBC-TV’s
music program, Hullabaloo 1965-66. Similar to ABC’s Shindig,
Hullabaloo featured a different celebrity host each week to introduce
some of the most popular musical performers of the day. However, the show
received most of its press not for the rock groups or vocalists that guest
starred but for Lada and fellow dancers who bumped, grinded and twisted their
way into the homes of teenagers every week. So popular was she that she
landed on the cover of TV Guide magazine.
Before she found TV fame, Lada began
her career dancing on Broadway. She was one of the original dancers in the 1960
Tony Award winning musical Bye Bye Birdie with Dick Van Dyke, Chita
Rivera and Paul Lynde. When rock star Conrad Birdie is drafted, his manager
randomly selects high schooler Kim MacAfee from Sweet Apple, Ohio for Conrad to
give his final goodbye kiss to on The Ed Sullivan Show before he goes
off to the military. Lada played Penelope Ann, one of Kim’s friends and one of
the many hysterical fans of the singing idol. With the first Broadway
revival of Bye Bye Birdie starring John Stamos and Gina Gershon
scheduled to open in October, Lada has been invited to return to Sweet Apple,
Ohio as a special guest and will be visiting backstage soon.
Besides dancing on stage (including
productions of West Side Story and Promises, Promises) and TV,
Lada shimmied across the big screen in the beach flick For Those Who Think
Young (1964) starring James Darren, Pamela Tiffin and Nancy Sinatra. She
then went dramatic in the moonshine movie The Devil’s 8 (1968) and the
coming-of-age drama Out of It (1969) starring Jon Voight in his first starring role, though it was released after he found fame in Midnight Cowboy. During the
Seventies, she became a stuntwoman in
Hollywood and performed death defying feats in
films including Smokey and the Bandit (1977) starring Burt Reynolds
and Sally Field, and classic TV shows such as Charlie's Angels and
Starsky and Hutch.
With Jon Voight in Out of It
Out of the spotlight for years working as a personal trainer
in New Jersey (I tried to locate her for my Glamour Girls of Sixties
Hollywood book without any luck), Lada (now known as Lada St. Edmund) has
re-surfaced and has launched a comeback. She is available for interviews
through her publicist Walter Newkirk @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lisanti has co-written with former 60s actress Gail Gerber her memoir Trippin’
with Terry Southern: What I Think I Remember. Visit his website www.sixtiescinema.com
for more information.