Transgender whistler Jeanette Schmid dies at 80
March 15 2005 12:00 AM ET
Jeanette Schmid, Austria's last professional whistler, who once shared a stage with Frank Sinatra, has died of the flu at age 80. Schmid, better known as Baroness Lips von Lipstrill, died in her Vienna apartment, the Austrian newspaper Kurier reported. The report did not specify when she died.
Schmid, born as a man in what now is the Czech Republic, underwent gender-reassignment surgery in 1964 in Cairo, where she lived for 15 years. She embarked on a whistling career during a visit to Tehran to perform for the shah of Iran. Her costume as a dancer was deemed too skimpy, so she whistled a Johann Strauss Jr. polka instead. She whistled onstage with Sinatra, Marlene Dietrich, and Edith Piaf, and she continued performing even in recent years. "I'll whistle through life until I die," she was quoted as saying. Schmid was a popular performer on cruises, where she delighted audiences by hitting the high C. She is to be buried in Munich, Kurier reported. (AP)