R.I.P., Edith Massey (May 28, 1918 – October 24, 1984)

The Eggs-traordinary Egg Lady, Edie Massey Remembered

Edith Massey in her Fells Point shop, Edie's Shopping Bag, 1978.

Edith Massey in her Fells Point shop, Edie’s Shopping Bag, 1978.

By Tom Warner and Scott Huffines (Baltimore Or Less)

Edith Massey, the popular John Waters “Dreamlander” actress (Multiple Maniacs, Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, Desperate Living, Polyester), punk singer (Edie and the Eggs), boutique owner (Edith’s Shopping Bag in Fells Point) and greeting card model, passed away this day from cancer and complications resulting from diabetes. Her ashes, fittingly, were interred in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, home of numerous Hollywood stars and entertainment industry celebrities.

Edith's Shopping Bag, 726 S. Broadway in Fells Point.

Edith’s Shopping Bag, 726 S. Broadway in Fells Point.

Inside Edie’s Thrift Shop, 1973: “Edie, part-time actress and full-time mother figure for underground movie stars, examines an electrical appliance she was given in her Preston street shop.” (Click photo for hi-res image)


Edie inside her thrift store, which was originally located on Preston Street in Mount Vernon before moving to 726 South Broadway in Fells Point.

Edith will forever be remembered as “Edie the Egg Lady” for her breakthrough role in Waters’ equally breakthrough cult classic Pink Flamingos (1972), though her leather-clad turns as Aunt Ida in Female Trouble (1974) and as evil Queen Carlotta of Mortville in Desperate Living (1977) are just as memorable.

Sexiest outfit ever? Edie as Aunt Edna in "Female Trouble"

Sexiest outfit ever? Edie as Aunt Ida in “Female Trouble”

Besides her body of work with Waters, Edie’s legacy is preserved in Robert Maier’s 1975 documentary short Love Letter To Edie, the 1976 documentary short Edith’s Shopping Bag, the Steve Yeager documentaries Divine Trash (1998) and In Bad Taste (2000), the  1981 John Cougar Mellencamp music video “This Time,” and her recordings as the singer of the all-girl punk rock band Edie & The Eggs, whose one-time drummer – and Dundalk native (Sacred Heart of Mary class of 1971, hon!) – Gina Schock went on to later fame with The Go-Go’s. (See producer Tom D’Antoni’s Evening Magazine profile of Schock here.)


Flier for San Francisco show with Edith Massey – Nov. 12, 1978.

In the 1980s, Edie continued her punk rock act with a number of different backing bands. One of them was Baltimore’s Thee Katatonix, who initially backed Edie at one of her birthday parties with a lineup that included “Danimal” Danny Brown and Adolf Kowalski on guitar and keyboards, “Reverend” Jack Heineken on bass and Big Andy Small on drums.

Edie's Birthday Egg-travaganza at the Marble Bar.

Edie’s Birthday Egg-travaganza at the Marble Bar.

The Kats’ association with the Egg Lady culminated in a two-night stint in 1982 at New York’s Mudd Club, on a bill that included Joe Tex and Sam & Dave and with John Waters in attendance.

Edie at the Mudd Club, backed by Thee Katatonix.

Edie at the Mudd Club, backed by Thee Katatonix.

Edie and John Waters at the Mudd Club.

Edie and John Waters at the Mudd Club.

But perhaps the zenith of Massey’s career came when she graced the May/June 1980 cover of the esteemed cinema journal Film Comment. From Egg Lady to glossy Cover Girl – who knew?

"Film Comment" cover girl, May/June 1980.

“Film Comment” cover girl, May/June 1980.

Edith always dreamed of more glamorous Hollywood roles and even auditioned for a part in a non-Waters film, Paul Bartel’s 1985 comedy Western Lust in the Dust (which featured her Polyester co-stars Divine and Tab Hunter), before before sidelined by health issues.

She eventually got her teeth fixed late in life by Baltimore dentist/video producer-editor Ron Israel (who weened producers Tom Warner and Scott Huffines during Atomic TV‘s late-’90s infancy on Baltimore City public access television), who talks about Massey in a bonus feature appearing on the extremely rare Criterion Collection laserdisc of Polyester (1981). As Baltimore Sun writer Bill Thomas reported (“Edith, the Toothless,” Dec. 17, 1982), when Massey lost her last remaining tooth in 1982, Dr. Ron made her two sets of new ones – one full pair for formal occasions and another one with just her signature solo snaggle tooth for the movies.

When Baltimore’s cold winters became too much for her to handle, Massey moved to Venice, California, where she operated another thrift store until her untimely death in 1984. She was, and will continue to be, missed.

Below, see some of our favorites sights and sounds from Edie’s colorful and entertaining life on screen and on stage.

Massey's "Big Girls Don't Cry" b/w "Hey Punks, Get Off the Grass" 45 (Egg Records, 1982)

Massey’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry” b/w “Hey Punks, Get Off the Grass” 45 (Egg Records, 1982)

Listen to Edie singing Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons’ “Big Girls Don’t Cry.”


Edith Massey 7-inch picture disc (Egg Records, 1982)

Listen to Edie & The Eggs sing “Hey Punks, Get Off the Grass” live on the Sunset Strip in 1979, with Baltimoreans Gina Schock on drums and Ann Collier (formerly of Charm City’s all-female band Rhumboogie) on guitar.

Cougar Town: Mellencamp and Massey camp it up in "This Time."

Cougar Town: Mellencamp and Massey camp it up in “This Time.”

Check out Mellencamp and Massey in the music video “This Time.”

You can hear Edie the Egg Lady soundbites sampled in the Thrill Kill Cult music video “Days of Swine and Roses.”

“Edith Massey Conquers Godzilla”

Check out Evening Magazine’s 1978 profile of Edie in “Edie: Queen of Fells Point.”

Watch a clip from Robert Maier’s short Love Letter To Edie.





Edith celebrates Christmas with Edith’s Shopping Bag assistant Jean and some elves.

Egg Lady on Tumblr (posts tagged #egg lady)

This entry was posted in Baltimorons, Deaths, Dreamlanders, Edith Massey, Entertainment, Films, Music, Obituaries, Punk / New Wave and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to R.I.P., Edith Massey (May 28, 1918 – October 24, 1984)

  1. Pingback: LED Lighting News » Blog Archive » John Waters: five of the best fashion moments from his films

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  3. donnie pace says:

    Dear Edith you were so talented it takes a very special person to be able to be in films you were great every film you were in is a Gem you were so genuine and sincere with the people you played I love you in all your films I am happy you got to be a movie star

  4. Aussie Edith Fan says:

    Thank you Edith, I love and adore you xxxcxcx

  5. bladerunner says:

    Edith Massey = Legend.

    How she managed to scrape through life with her innocence, god only knows…

  6. Neil Warren says:

    Will always love Edith Massey and the smile she put on my face! A treasure from Baltimore and John Waters!

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