An ex-stripper’s tale: ‘Tammi True,’ now 75, recalls the real Jack Ruby

Posted Friday, Oct. 11, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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kennedy At 75, former striptease dancer Tammi True has finally revealed all.

On the brink of what is now being mocked as “JFK Month” in Dallas, Jack Ruby’s star stripper has reminded us that Ruby was just not the conspiracy type.

On Nov. 24, 1963, two mornings after the Kennedy assassination, Ruby overslept.

Then, the nightclub owner grabbed his favorite pet dachshund and scrambled downtown to wire money to a stripper in Fort Worth.

He only happened to wander into the city jail sally port exactly when he could get a close-range shot at accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.

“Jack did it because he had the opportunity,” Nancy “Tammi” Myers says in True Tales, the new movie about her life as a cabaret star in 1960s showrooms like Ruby’s clubs and the Skyliner Ballroom in Fort Worth.

“There were a lot of people who wanted to do what Jack did.”

For the 50th observance, publishers and studios are recycling every conspiracy fairytale, mostly because mysteries sell better than reality.

In True Tales, director Katie Dunn of Dallas-based AMS Pictures resists sensationalism in favor of Myers’ simple message: that Ruby was inherently impulsive and temper-prone, and curiosity alone led him to the exact place where he could act out any Dallasite’s anger at Oswald.

“Nancy really knew Jack, and this movie is about letting her tell her story,” Dunn said Thursday, after the movie premiered complete with Myers demonstrating some of her bump-and-grind moves on stage at the Dallas VideoFest.

“It makes the movie more legitimate. She never says Jack was an angel. It’s so much more real to say ‘this was a human being who did something stupid, and he took away a lot of answers for all time’.”

Then, Myers was 25-year-old Nancy Powell of Fort Worth, divorced and living by day as a self-described “PTA mom” with her grandmother on Clarence Street in the Riverside neighborhood.

Now, she lives in Grand Prairie and seems to relish every moment of her return to the spotlight. She was recently inducted into the Las Vegas-based Burlesque Hall of Fame as one of the “Titans of Tease.”

The movie follows her career through her start at the Skyliner to Ruby’s clubs in an era when striptease was part of a variety show that also might include a band, comedy, magic or singers such as Fort Worth’s Ray Sharpe at the Skyliner.

Myers describes the crowd as the “who’s who — high-ranking officials, gangsters, a lot of conventions and guests from the hotels.”

Dunn, a young filmmaker, has Myers tell the story as young actors portray the dancers, Ruby and other figures from Dallas’ free-wheeling nightclub scene.

The movie will make the festival circuit and be available soon as a pay-per-view rental, she said.

“Just seeing Dallas in the 1960s is an eye-opener,” Dunn said.

“The movie has this whole Mad Men-meets- Boardwalk Empire thing going. People don’t know what Dallas was like.”

It wasn’t such a mystery.

Bud Kennedy's column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 817-390-7538 Twitter: @BudKennedy

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