Irving Klaw (Isadore Klaw)
Photos with Irving Klaw
BiographyBrooklyn, New York, USA
Irving Klaw was a true pioneer in the world of bondage fetish photography whose pictures and movies of the legendary Bettie Page played a principal role in establishing Page as a major pin-up icon. Klaw was born on November 9, 1910, in Brooklyn, New York City. After working four unsuccessful years as a furrier, Irving and his sister Paula opened a secondhand bookstore in Manhattan in the late 1930s. Klaw began selling movie-star stills and lobby photo cards in his store after he noticed that teenagers were tearing out photos in his movie magazines. Read more... the store from the basement to a street-level store front. He renamed the place Movie Star News and dubbed himself the Pin-Up King. Irving also began a highly lucrative international mail order business that specialized in selling cheesecake photos of movie stars. In the late 1940s, Klaw started taking bondage fetish pictures of beautiful women. His first bondage fetish model was Lili Dawn. Moreover, Klaw and his sister Paula also took photos of such famous burlesque dancers as Lili St. Cyr, Tempest Storm, Baby Lake, and Blaze Starr. Irving rented the third floor over Movie Star News and turned it into a shooting studio. Klaw's photos of Bettie Page proved to be especially popular and successful. In the mid 1950s, Irving directed the burlesque features Varietease (1954), Teaserama (1955), and Buxom Beautease (1956). In addition, he made many 8mm and 16 mm black-and-white adult film loops; a fair share of these shorts featured Bettie Page. In 1955, Klaw was brought before the Senate Subcommittee on Obscene and Pornographic Materials. He also had his phones bugged, and his mail was often intercepted by the FBI. In 1963, Irving produced the films Intimate Diary of Artists' Models (1963) and Nature's Sweethearts (1963) (he also co-directed the latter movie). However, Klaw, nonetheless, still eventually quit the business and burned up to 80% of his negatives due to heavy social pressure and constant persecution by the government. Irving Klaw died at age 55 due to complications from untreated appendicitis on September 3, 1966. He was survived by his sons Arthur and Jeffrey. His nephew Ira Kramer now runs Movie Star News in New York City.