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Dancer Rosemarie Black Dies At 79

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Photo supplied by family of Rosemarie Black.

Photo supplied by family of Rosemarie Black.

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CHICAGO (CBS) — One of Chicago’s more colorful characters is dead. Exotic dancer Rosemarie Black, known as “The Bronze Temptress” and “Racetrack Rosie” was 79 when she died last week.

For decades, Black was a stripper who, in her everyday life, was not shy about wearing colorful self-designed and self-made clothing wherever she went. Scores of South Siders, no doubt, would recognize her by the outlandish cowboy hats and tight-fitting outfits she wore.

Her 44-year old youngest daughter, Rochelle Hill, says her mother was “always different”. She says she never saw her mother wear gym shoes and jeans, that she always made her own clothes and “loved to sew and she loved to go to the racetrack”.

Hill says there were times when her mother’s style of dress would embarrass her, especially when she’d have to go to Hill’s school to pick up her report card. “We’re walking down the hall and everyone’s coming out of the classrooms and looking at my mother. Kind of embarrassing for me. But my mother never changed for anyone. She used to always say…it doesn’t matter what you think of me…it’s what I think of myself,” Hill says.

Rosemarie Black seen here with Oprah Winfrey. (Photo supplied by family of Rosemarie Black)

Rosemarie Black seen here with Oprah Winfrey. (Photo supplied by family of Rosemarie Black)

Hill says her mother always wanted to be the center of attention. She says, “I remember experiencing times when people would almost have accidents watching her as they’re driving while we’re standing there waiting on the bus.”

As for Rosemarie Black’s stripteases, Hill says her mother was from “the old school” and would not take off all her clothes. She’d, in the least, leave on a G-string and bra in order to leave something to the imagination. Hill says Black worked as an exotic dancer until she was at least 60-years-old.

She says her mother worked with the likes of the Jackson Five, B.B. King, Nipsey Russell and Milton Berle.

Hill says her mother was a motivator and would, instead of telling people to, “have a nice day”, would tell them to “have a grateful day”.

Hill says Rosemarie Black would frequent the McDonald’s on 67th and Stony Island Avenue and the White Castle on 79th and Stony.

Hill says she’s really going to miss her mom.

Rosemarie Black with singer James Brown. (Photo supplied by family of Rosemarie Black)

Rosemarie Black with singer James Brown. (Photo supplied by family of Rosemarie Black)

Rosemarie Black is survived by her husband of 45 years, Cornelius Black, three daughters, 10 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be Saturday from 7-10 p.m. and at 4 p.m. on Sunday at Leak & Sons Funeral Home on 78th and Cottage Grove Avenue. Rosemarie Black’s funeral will be Sunday, at 5 p.m. at the funeral home.

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