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  Edith Massey

Edith as Aunt Ida in Female Trouble

Edith in one of her infamous fat-lady birthday card poses.

Edith Massey was one of the most beloved of all Dreamlanders. "Discovered" by Waters as a barmaid in Pete's Hotel in Baltimore, she filmed her very first scene for him right there for Multiple Maniacs. But that's not where her story begins.

No, Edith Massey had a long history. She grew up in an orphanage in Denver, but ran away to Los Angeles to be in show business. To make ends meet while waiting for her big break, she sold pencils and combs on the sidewalk.

Never really making it as a Hollywood commodity, Edith began dancing in bars, clubs and "honky-tonks" as a b-girl (asking men for drinks).

She traveled like a hobo on freight trains and hitchhiking around the country; Texas, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago, Las Vegas. Eventually she got a bar of her own in Oklahoma and once worked as a madam in an Illinois brothel!

While in Tampa, another girl told her the pickings were good in Baltimore. She spent 15 years on "the block" [a notorious section of the city] before opening her own thrift shop and working at Pete's Hotel.

The rest is history. For a really great version of this story, pick up a copy of the short film Love Letter to Edie.