Leslie Zemeckis is a best-selling author, actress, and award-winning documentarian. Leslie’s critically acclaimed films include Behind the Burly Q, the true story of old-time burlesque in America which ran on Showtime. The film, championed by such publications as USA Today and The New Yorker, reveals the never-before told stories of the men and women who worked in burlesque during its Golden Age; Bound by Flesh about Siamese twin superstars Daisy and Violet Hilton which debuted at number 5 on Netflix, and the award-winning Mabel, Mabel, Tiger Trainer chronicling the extraordinary world of the first female tiger trainer, Mabel Stark, in the early part of the 20th century. Her newest film is Grandes Horizontales.
Zemeckis is the author of three best-sellers, Behind the Burly Q, the definitive oral history of burlesque, Goddess of Love Incarnate; the Life of Stripteuse Lili St. Cyr and Feuding Fan Dancers, about Sally Rand, Faith Bacon and the golden age of the showgirl (a SCIBA finalist for biography). She is currently at work on her fourth book.
As an actress she has worked in films alongside Tom Hanks, Steve Carell, Jim Carrey and Richard Lawson.
Zemeckis is the founder of the program “Stories Matter,” female storytellers mentoring underserved future female storytellers. She founded and is curating the ENTITY Magazine book club which commenced February 2021 with author Christina Hammonds Reeds (other guests will include Randa Jarrar, Laura Bates, Nicole Chung).
Honored for her work inspiring women, in 2022 Zemeckis will be awarded the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in part for “sharing and preserving stories of women who were once marginalized and stigmatized . . .” but due to her work “these women are now celebrated for their independence and personal agency.” The Medal is officially recognized by both Houses of Congress and is one of our nation’s most prestigious awards. Past recipients include Presidents Clinton and Reagan, Elie Wiesel, Sen. John McCain and HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco.
Leslie has a book column in the Montecito Journal, and is a frequent contributor to Huffington Post, Medium, Talkhouse and has written for W Magazine and Stork Magazine and a monthly book column in the Montecito Journal. She has presented her work and spoken at panels and Universities including Santa Barbara City College, Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, The Chicago Club, Chicago History Museum, MoMa, Burlesque Hall of Fame, Burly Con, Women’s History Month panels. www.lesliezemeckis.co