Dawn Diano

The "Italian Demon"

Dawn Diano was a topless burlesque dancer through the 1970s. She was deemed 'The Italian Demon' because of her signature performance using a gun and whip while stripping! She traveled across the country, from Georgia and North Carolina to Nebraska and Iowa. Dawn also traveled to Canada on multiple occasions to perform.

(Council Bluffs Nonpareil. December 10, 1971)

The Benefit Performance Scandal | Lariat Club, Fremont

Dawn Diano was a frequent performer at the Lariat Club in Fremont, NE from 1971 to 1973. She appeared in multiple newspaper advertisements that were rerun during the weeks she was performing at the Lariat. Dawn was known for having a heart of gold and wanting to help her community. This is apparent in her decision to host a benefit performance at the Lariat Club in 1971. She planned to donate to proceeds from the performance to the Fremont's Downtown Improvement District. At the same time, the Chief of Police, Fred Whitt, asked the Fremont city council to instate an ordinance banning topless entertainment. The Lariat Club was owned by Mrs. Pat Haines at the time.

(Top: Omaha World Herald. December 3, 1971
Bottom: Omaha World Herald. May 22, 1973)

In just one performance, she raised $250 ($1,926 in 2024). She danced to a full house at the Lariat Club. However, controversy struck when Diano attempted to donate the money to the Downtown Improvement District of Fremont--the committee would not accept the funds. Then, she went to the Masonic Easter Star Home for Children (an orphanage), but they denied the donation too after the superintendent was informed Diano was a topless dancer. Next, she went to the local VISTA (anti-hunger campaign), in which a volunteer accepted the offer, only to have the chairmen rescind the donation, ultimately refusing it.
Dawn was hurt, understandably. After feeling there was no sense in trying another local charity, she donated the proceeds to a national muscular dystrophy organization. Her husband and manager, Edward Hall said, "locals seem to need money, but they won't take it because she is an exotic dancer." (Omaha World Herald. "Topless Dancer Aids Charity Despite Rejects. Fremont, NE. December 12, 1971.) She continued to hold other benefit performances in Fort Wayne, Indiana and Madison, Wisconsin.
(Dawn Diano Performing Onstage. "Stripper: Hard Work, But The Pay is Good." Quad-City Times. May 2, 1972. By Jim Arpy)

Miss Nude Galaxy

Dawn Diano won "Miss Nude Galaxy" in March 1972. 500 women entered the national contest sponsored by the California Public Relations Company. She won a crown, trophy, and $1000 check. She was also slated to sign a contract to star in a movie called "Nite Lite Girl", set to be filmed in 1973. It's unable to determine whether or not the movie was made. (Fremont Tribune. "Entertainer Wins Title." March 15, 1972)
Dawn returned to the Lariat Club in 1973. She continued to perform throughout the United States until 1977, when she retired from topless dancing.
(Omaha World Herald. April 12, 1973)

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