VIENNA -- Jeanette Schmid, Austria's last professional whistler, who once shared a stage with Frank Sinatra, died of the flu in her apartment here, the newspaper Kurier reported Thursday. She was 80.
Ms. Schmid, better known as Baroness Lips von Lipstrill, was born a man in what now is the Czech Republic. She underwent a gender change in 1964 in Cairo, where she lived for 15 years.
She embarked on a whistling career during a visit to Tehran to perform as a dancer for the shah of Iran. Her dance costume was deemed too skimpy, so she changed her outfit and whistled a polka by Johann Strauss Jr., instead.
She whistled on stage with Sinatra, Marlene Dietrich, and Edith Piaf, and continued performing even in recent years.
''I'll whistle through life until I die," she was quoted as saying.
Ms. Schmid was a popular performer on cruises, where she delighted audiences by hitting the high C.