Tempest Storm was mistress to both Elvis and JFK, and became an international star on the stage and screen in the 1950s. At the age of 87 she is considered to be the greatest living burlesque dancer, but her success came at a great personal cost. Exploring her dramatic rise to fame as an entertainer and her swift fall from grace after pursuing an interracial marriage, “Tempest Storm” is a feature documentary that bares all to tell the controversial life story of an American sex icon.
Well into her 80s (although having been born on a leap year she’ll point out that she’s actually 21) Tempest maintains her fiery red hair and a figure that still slips into her showgirl costumes from decades gone by. Her ambition and talent enabled her to rise from a cotton picker in rural Georgia to becoming a front stage superstar in Hollywood. At the height of her fame she caused riots simply by taking off her coat. Sixty years (and four marriages) later, we follow this aging icon as she continues to live and perform in Las Vegas.
Tempest dated Elvis Presley in the 1950s, was offered contracts by MGM Studios, and had her name smeared across papers for having a relationship with President John F. Kennedy. Through a myriad of love affairs, complex interpersonal relationships have been a continuous theme throughout her life, resulting in both success and hardship. Growing up in Eastman, Georgia, she never knew her father, who left her family when she was an infant. As a teenager she survived a brutal gang rape, and by the age of 20 she had run away from two abusive marriages. Years later she fell in love with Duke Ellington’s lead singer Herb Jeffries, but the big studios condemned the interracial couple and she was blacklisted for marrying outside her race. The two had a daughter, Patricia Ann, but when their marriage fell apart, Tempest abandoned her family to continue performing. Today, she has reached a crossroads. She remains estranged from Patti and for the first time in her life, Tempest is trying to reconcile with her daughter and fight for some semblance of family.
In the spirit of notable documentaries like Searching for Sugar Man and The Kid Stays in the Picture, Tempest Storm includes never before seen photographs, archival footage and interviews, seamlessly merging her dramatic past with an emotional cinéma vérité story unfolding in the present. The film includes exclusive access to Tempest and her intimate circle of family and friends, including acclaimed Hollywood director Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman, Happy Days) famed drummer Jimmy Fox from The James Gang, burlesque icon Dita Von Teese and performer Danielle Colby (star of A&E’s American Pickers). For the first time, Tempest has chosen to tell her story, in her own words in a film that guarantees to be her most revealing performance yet.