Gracie Hansen was a housewife from a small town in Washington (Morton) and gained prominence as the “Queen” of Seattle’s ‘62 World's Fair where she operated her Gracie Hansen's Paradise Pavilion right off of "GayWay" (the youth amusement section). Her show 'featured' topless women in Ziegfeld Follies costumes. She wasn't the first to do this, as in 1939 at the San Francisco World's Fair, Sally Rand was featured with her topless cowgirls. But, Gracie said, "I can do it better", and she did! Bob Hope, Carol Channing, and many other celebrities visited her Paradise Pavilion and it became the big hit of the World's Fair. In fact, some say that Seattle's Red-Hot Mama (as she was dubbed as her style was similar to Mae West or Sophie Tucker) saved the World's Fair.
Harvey Dick, who owned the Hoyt Hotel on 6th and SW Hoyt Street (a block away from Union Station in Portland, Oregon) was so impressed with Gracie that he turned a covered parking garage into a world-class showroom that seats 500 people. Before it opened, he christened it the GRACIE HANSEN's Roaring 20's Room. She starred in the room with a variety of people for a little over five years. During that time, such celebrities as Anne Francis, Johnny Carson, The Glenn Miller Band, Les Brown, and His Band of Re-noun, Al Hirt, Count Basie, and the great Duke Ellington either visited or performed there.
In 1970, Gracie took a shot at running for Governor of Oregon - she is believed to be the first woman to do this. She ran against Bob Straub on the Democratic ticket and came in third out of eight- Tom McCall a Republican was re-elected to a second term that year. Gracie, two years later ran for the State Legislature.
Later in life, she fought a battle with diabetes and on January 9, 1985, died during surgery to amputate her right leg in a hospital in Los Angeles.