The tradition began in 1950 when actor Bill Bradley borrowed a dressing gown from Florence Baum, a chorus girl in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and sent it to his pal Arthur Partington in Call Me Madam saying it would “bless” his show. Partington then sent it to another show, and the tradition was born.
When a Gypsy Robe is completely embellished with artifacts, souvenirs and sketches, it is retired, and a new robe is started. Three retired robes are in the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center; two are in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History; and three are in the Museum of the City of New York. All others remain with Actors' Equity.
The supervision and guardianship of the Gypsy Robe is maintained by the Actors' Equity Association Advisory Committee on Chorus Affairs (ACCA), under the guidance of David Westphal, AEA’s National Chorus Business Representative.
Watch a video paying tribute to the Gypsy Robe below: