LOTTIE THE BODY – “Built like two stacks of pancakes”: There is a lot of Lottie Online.

Lottie The Body

Editor’s Note: This interview was written in October of 2015. Lottie passed away on Feb. 29, 2020. You can read more about it here.

Now age 85, Lottie The Body Graves maintains a loving home with her current husband.  She invited me to sit at the kitchen table. Spread out were PR photo images. “Pick out what you like and I will autograph them”. In the background her framed history was hanging on the walls. She is preparing a book on her life.

Lottie‘s parents were from Barbados. She was born in 1930 in South Carolina. At age one her parents settled in Syracuse, NY. She grew up in a home vibrating with Afro-Cuban dance form and music. She studied classical dance and easily incorporated the influences from home into a highly skill professional dancer.

In 1947 she graduated from high school and moved to New York City and started her career in show business with the Alan White Dancers and various theatre groups. “I was always the principal – never in the chorus!”

For 16 year,s Lottie was booked in to Burlesque clubs nationally. Her lavish costumes, and skilled dancing of the Socca, Chi-Chi, Calypso and Cuban styles made her act unique.

During that time she toured with the BB King Review and worked with a lot of great talents.

She was married to Harlem Globetrotters talent, Goose Tatum for six years.  “Well, he was quite a bit older. I still performed, and traveled with the team to Cuba. I met Castro.” Later she shook hands with  “the handsomest man I had ever met. Oscar Graves. He was a high end clothing salesman from Detroit. We married and that’s how I got to Detroit. His noted brother Robert Graves was good looking too”.
Over the years she has received many honors, proudly displayed on the hall walls.

We stepped out onto her patio where she cares for her family of flowers. “You know I was the host at the 20 Grand Lounge in Detroit, where I introduced all the Motown acts. Such lovely people. Later I worked at BoMac’s Bar where the best jazz in town could be heard.

“I am now retired. My hips just don’t shimmy like they used to”.

For more information about Lottie Graves, click here.

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17 thoughts on “LOTTIE THE BODY – “Built like two stacks of pancakes”: There is a lot of Lottie Online.

  1. I remember Lottie from the more recent days at BoMacs, where she was a wonderful MC and was so nice to my Dad and the rest of us. Of course, my Dad remembers her from the old old days at several of the now-long-gone venues of Detroit's past. So nice to see her doing well, and caretaking a fascinating part of our entertainment history. We all remember you and love you out here Lottie!

  2. Dear Mingusal,

    I rarely look at comment on my Blog. I will more often after reading your note and the history of your father to Lottie theBody.

  3. I worked with Lottie at the Book Show Bar in downtown Detroit for a period of time, we'd often ride to work together. At that time I worked under the name Shalimar, I sure would love to talk to her.

  4. I worked with Lottie at the Book Show Bar in downtown Detroit for a period of time, we'd often ride to work together. At that time I worked under the name Shalimar, I sure would love to talk to her.

  5. I came onstage and DANCED with Lotie the Body when she appeared on Indianapolis' "Sin Strip" (Meridian), back in the late '60's. I was a graduate student at Indiana State University, working in Indianapolis. That was one of my life's highlights.

  6. I am portraying Lottie Graves in a show themed “Vintage” iconic women from 1920’s to 1950’s. I have only found two photos that I know are Mrs Graves. Does any one have more pics or videos of her performances?

  7. love Me some Lottie the Body, I use to Dance with Lottie Years ago, and Make Her Clothes, My Name is Cookie, I’ve been trying to find, My Beautiful Friend..

    1. Cookie, I see your comment from a year ago. If you are still out there, I can ask Lottie if she wants to share her contact information. She lives in Detroit and is doing well. She’ll be 88 next month!

      1. Hi Linda,

        My name is Monday and I met Lottie in Las Vegas this spring. I’d love to be in touch with her, with her permission, as I’m doing a tribute to her this fall.

      2. Hi Linda, I am producing a documentary film about a theater/burlesque club that existed on Woodward Ave in Detroit from the 1930s-1990s. Do you know how to get in touch with Lottie? We would love to interview her.

      3. Hi Linda-
        My mom Geri Ball (Henningsen) worked at the Book Show Bar in Detroit with Lottie around 1961 – 1971. Our family has many fond memories with Lottie. We are celebrating my moms 80th birthday May 4, 2019. We would like to reach out to Lottie and see if she would be interested in coming to the party or talking with our mom. It would be a wonderful gift to her. We know it’s a long shot but we just had to try. Any response is appreciated. Please send Lottie our love and we hope she is doing well. Thank you! With much appreciation – Debbie, Donna, Dee Dee (Diane) and Dave.

      4. Please do So, I would Love to see Her…313-544-6973

  8. Lottie walked into my shoe store in Windsor, Ontario, just across the river from Detroit. She was appearing at The Twenty Grand Club. Joe Ziggy Johnson was the MC, and the doorman was Dean. Lottie bought 12 pair of white satin shoes and wanted them dyed o match her costumes. I tinted the shoes in her dressing room. We made several trips to the Twenty Grand and were treated great every time. The last time I saw Lottie was at the Golden Rail or the Brass Rail in Detroit. I think it was around 1963.

  9. I worked with Lottie in 1998 and 1999T the Detroit Festival of the Arts. She was a lovely womanwhom I remember fondly!

  10. I am watching Lottie “the body” Graves on The Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers and am once again honered by the amazing history of my city.

  11. Such a lovely lady glad to hear she is still with us and doing well.

  12. I meet Lottie when we both worked at Dummy George a Jazz Club on West 6 Mile back in the late 70s. Many good times and plenty of stories to tell

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