Marie LeDoux

A svelte 180


With 180 pounds on her 5-foot frame, Marie LeDoux is a mere shadow of her former self and she couldn't get back her old job - "Fat Lady" in the circus.  She weighed in at "somewhere between 350 and 400 pounds," she said.


"I wasn't fat enough to just sit and let people look at me, so I sang and danced, too."


She continued:  "I've never known what it is not to be fat, when I was 9 years old, I weighted 210 pounds."


THE FORMER 'fat lady" came by her weight and her job naturally - her parents were circus folk and her mother, too, was a "fat lady."


Miss LeDoux just missed being born "under the canvas."  She greeted the work in the circus' winter quarters 60 years ago at Baraboo Wis. in the days before Florida became the winter haven for the Ringling Bros. show.


Her job has taken her to every state in the Union except Alaska and to Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan and Cuba.


She danced I the "hefty line" in Chicago's Haymarket Theater.


In 1933 on a tour of Japan she played in a show which gave a command performance for Emperor Hirohito in the Imperial Palace in Tokyo and was a guest on the palace grounds for three days.


"I don't have any pictures taken then," she said.  "During the Second World War, the United States government took them for intelligence purposes."


THERE AREN'T many reminders of her former life left for Marie Le Doux.


"I kept an old costume of mine around for years," she said, "but two years ago I decided I'd probably never wear it again and disposed of it.  It was a size 56.  Every time I looked at it, I'd diet harder.


"I wear an 181/2 now - I took off the pounds with a three year diet of cottage cheese and fruit.


"People always were amazed that I ate so little when I was so fat" - I really was a very light eater.  But I ate the wrong things - candy, sandwiches, soda pop.  When you are in a show, you never eat or sleep right.


"I'll never allow myself to be fat again."


THERE ARE many things to occupy Miss LeDoux in her retirement - her young adopted daughter, Mrs. Sandra Weisberg, and her son, Richard, 20 months, who live with Miss LeDoux; her tiny poodle, Pepi, and the Showman's Club which she helped to found.


"Sandra was abandoned by her parents when she was six months old."  Miss LeDoux explained "I adopted her several years later when we found her parents.  She's been in the circus, too, as a snake charmer - she worked with pythons and boa constrictors."


by Sally Gene Mahoney - Seattle Times - Dec 6th 1964

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