Stripper, 89, gives ‘America’s Got Talent’ a patriotic show: ‘Respect your elders’


You won’t see any “granny panties” on this senior stripper.

Penny Starr, 89, whose real name is Janet Gaynor, gave the judges of “America’s Got Talent” a show they’ll never forget.

After 17 seasons, the talent showcase can get a bit repetitive, but this season brought a first: an elderly burlesque dancer.

A preview clip of Tuesday’s episode shows Starr marching out onstage in a white frilly mermaid gown with long white gloves and a red, white and blue feathered boa.

Starr dances around the stage to “You’re a Grand Old Flag” and flings her feathered boa off when judge Simon Cowell catches on.

“She’s going to take her clothes off,” the notoriously harsh judge says to Sofia Vergara who sits next to him.

Simon Cowell was flustered by the risqué performance.
America’s Got Talent / NBC
Janet “Penny Starr” Gaynor told judges that she once flew trapeze and danced with an elephant for the circus.
America’s Got Talent / NBC

Starr continues to dance around as the audience claps along to the cheery music. She slowly reaches for the front zipper on the dress as the camera turns back to Cowell.

The regularly stone cold Cowell is seen bug-eyed and shocked as Starr confirmed his previous guess.

The 89-year-old dancer slowly unzips herself to reveal a matching white mesh bustier and long skirt that she immediately rips off as a confetti canon fires streamers onstage.

Starr told Florida Today that all the judges “were wonderful … even Simon.”

“I was ready for him. If he would have blown the buzzer on me while I was working, I would have turned around and said, ‘Respect your elders.’ But no, he was nice,” she said.

She recounted how she learned to dance when she ran away to join the circus and was booted from the trapeze act. She was eventually paired with a baby elephant for a dance routine before being taught burlesque by the carnival owner’s wife.

The burlesque biddy, who danced for the likes of the Rat Pack, is now an honoree of the Las Vegas Hall of Fame.
Trae Patton/NBC via Getty Images

The “living legend of burlesque” took her talents and eventually made it to the Flamingo in Las Vegas where she ate breakfast with Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra. She’s now honored in the Las Vegas Hall of Fame.

Starr was also crowned Miss Bumps and Grinds 1962 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The legendary performer, who recently celebrated her 89th birthday, is proud to be able to continue her show.