Coby Yee – A Celebration of Life

Coby is cheered by audience members in 2015 at a screening of “Forbidden City, USA” in San Francisco’s Great Star Theatre.  Photo by DeepFocus Productions.

The Bay Area Chinese Genealogy Group is saddened to advise that Coby Yee, a featured panelist in our East meets West: Chinatown Nightclubs, died peacefully August 14, 2020, at the age of 93.

If you wish to see Coby full of life, love and laughter, just weeks ago view BACGG had the great honor and privilege of working with Coby in this interview. Even when we had dress rehearsals, with only three of us present,  Coby was always dolled up in full costume and makeup, ready to put on a show.  It is this zeal of life, I will always remember. She told me about the  gown she made with a 15 foot train (she is only 4’11”!) to make a grand entrance for her acceptance as 2020’s Living Legend from the Las Vegas Burlesque Hall of Fame… never failing to be larger-than-life. Coby never said goodbye… she always ended with, bye for now. So bye for now, Coby, as when I look into the heavens, I will always see your bright star.

Ron Chan, Executive Director, Bay Area Chinese Genealogy Group

Photos provided by Cynthia Yee, webinar panelist, and fellow entertainers to celebrate Coby’s life. view

Coby Yee, 2020 Legend of Burlesque / Last Dance Video by Frankie Fictitious and Joyce Tang (4 min 22 sec) view Special thanks to the Burlesque Hall of Fame site , a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to preserving and celebrating burlesque.

We were unable to have the panelist answer the questions posed by the webinar attendees contemporaneously. BACGG (Ron, Gail, and Jeannie) spent several hours with the panelists going over the submitted questions, and then collating the answers. Please see their output: Questions Answered click

Here is a wonderful tribute to Coby in the New Yorker, posted on Valentines Day

Please feel free to leave a story, a memory, or say, goodbye for now, to Coby.

11 thoughts on “Coby Yee – A Celebration of Life”

  1. I was so honored to have been at the last gathering via zoom with Arthur Dong. Coby Yee’s legacy will live on forever. We Asian- American performers all stand on her shoulders and are greatful to her for sharing her experience with us. I certainly will be talking about her to my organization.
    Always, in loving spirit,
    Baayork Lee
    Executive/Artistic Director
    National Asian Artists Project
    New York City, N,Y.

  2. I’m so very glad to have seen Coby Yee on our recent Zoom presentation. A legend and inspiration. She was so full of life, who knew it would be her last performance. So now she takes her final bow and curtain call and exits stage left. Bravo !

  3. CHCP and BACGG have had the honor of having her as a panelists on our Chinatown Nightclub webinar recently and I must say that she so positive and energetic…. just so delightful to listen to….she is a role model to me
    We will miss her.

  4. I will always remember her wearing a head dress and her stories of making gold/black/silver lame bikini’s. Coby was so thrilled to be part of our webinar. She drew us viewers into her world, for a brief moment, into her life. Gracious and generous to the end!

  5. Pete and I send our condolences to Coby’s family.
    I was fortunate to see and hear her story at the Zoom presentation.
    What a unique individual and so full of life.

  6. We feel very fortunate to have heard her personal story on the Chinatown Nightclub webinar. She is an inspiration to us all.

    Donald & Margaret Wong

  7. To Ron and all the BACGG Staff.
    Thank you so much for this ‘Celebration of Life” page honoring my Mom. Pictures, video, comments are so very beautiful.
    She would be ‘tickled’ to know of all the wonderful comments.
    Thank you again.

  8. Coby forever a brilliant shining star. So happy she had an opportunity to be a panelist last month with the BACGG and awarded by the Burlesque Hall of Fame the 2020 Legend of the Year.
    A talented dear friend so full of life, laughter and fun ….some of her costumes bestowed upon me will always be treasured.
    Forever in my heart…


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