Gail Gerber

Girl Happy, 1965

Harum Scarum, 1965

Other Stage Names: Gail Gilmore, Gale Gerber, Gail Gibson
Born: October 4, 1937 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Died: March 1, 2014, in Sharon, Connecticut.

Gail Gerber was a successful Canadian ballet dancer before moving to Hollywood in 1963. As Gail Gilmore, she made guest appearances on TV shows before landing a part as one of the college kids in Girl Happy, the one Jimmy Hawkins' character is chasing until she dumps him. She has this to say about working with Elvis that first time:

"On the set, Elvis' guys in his entourage kept inviting me to his house and I kept declining because I was still doing Under the Yum Yum Tree on stage at night. But even if I could have gone I wouldn't have. I wasn't familiar with Elvis Presley's music and wasn't interested in hearing it. Not knowing much about him (except that he was very friendly and polite to me), I wasn't aware of his importance at the time."

Gail also made appearances in two other beach movies, Girls On The Beach and Beach Ball, before meeting "the hippest guy on the planet", Terry Southern, who was the screenwriter on her next film, The Loved One. Although both were married at the time, they connected instantly.

Read Gail's autobiography!
Terry Southern had already written the risque novel Candy, and the screenplay of a classic counter-culture film, Dr Strangelove, but would go on to write The Cincinatti Kid, Barbarella, Casino Royale, The Magic Christian, and Easy Rider. I don't know about you, but I'm thinking there's not a bad movie on that list! Speaking of bad movies...

In Harum Scarum, Gail played Sapphire, one of the three gypsy dancers who become part of Elvis' extended family, sort of, and along the way Gail gets to teach the King a thing or two:

"I had so much fun working with Elvis on this movie. The film's finale also was a big production number set in Las Vegas and I danced again with Elvis as he sang, Harem Holiday. As we rehearsed this last number, I showed Elvis how to do Chaines Finger Turns. I have a picture of us going off stage. He was not planted right but we did it and nobody broke their neck. However, they cut it."

After The Magic Christian(1969) and End Of The Road (1970), Gail quit her movie career to move to the east coast with Terry, where she began teaching ballet. Terry died in 1995, and Gail finally made a return to the screen in 2008 with a role in the comedy-drama Lucky Days. Gail teamed up with writer Tom Lisanti to write about her life and adventures with Terry Southern, and the book was released in July 2009. Click on the cover at left to get your copy!
Sad to report that Gail passed away March 1, 2014, of complications from lung cancer. Read more at Tom Lisanti's Sixties Cinema site.

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