Tootsies Come Out of America's Closets as Look-Alikes Cash in on Dustin Hoffman's Act

UPDATED 02/07/1983 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 02/07/1983 at 01:00 AM EST

They'll never grace the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, but that didn't stop a half-dozen eager entrants from making it a real dress-up affair. In honor of the Dustin Hoffman hit, Indianapolis radio station WIBC staged a Tootsie look-alike competition in its lobby early this month. The most celebrated Dorothy Michaels double, Houston Mayor Kathy Whitmire, was a no-show, as was Encino, Calif. secretary Arline Gelfand, who brags, "There can't be anybody who looks as much like Tootsie as I do." But two guys and four dolls did enter. And, of course, the best man won.

Top Tootsie, Bob Krider, 28 (158 pounds and 5'9"), cut an award-worthy figure in black skirt, matching blazer, white bow-tied blouse, white gloves and red wig. Krider was outfitted by a tall, stocky lady friend, who selected highlights from her collection. The result impressed one contest judge, WIBC producer Mark Edwards. As Edwards enthusiastically put it, "He put the uh in ugly."

Among the 50 spectators eyeing the entrants was Krider's 3-year-old daughter, Sara, who wasn't convinced: "He looked funny. Like a lady." Wife Marilyn explained, "There are 10 kids in his family and they're all a little crazy."

Krider faced stiff competition from the other male contestant, professional female impersonator Taylor Martin, 30, who delivers singing telegrams by day and performs in area gay bars at night. He appeared in a lace-collared blouse, a black slit skirt and sandals with three-inch spike heels.

The two men vied with four female contestants: a housewife who had never seen the movie, an employee of Lane Bryant, the large-size women's clothing store chain, a Jazzercise instructor and a 60-year-old grandmother of 10. Each of the losers went home with consolation prizes: Tootsie Rolls.

For the grand prize winner, the contest was no drag. Krider, who works as a rehabilitation therapist at Madison State Hospital for the mentally ill, bagged the becoming sum of $100.70—a play on WIBC's 1070 position on the AM dial. Krider has already spent the money on what he considers a worthy cause: shoes. Men's size 9.

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