Louise Weber was born in 1866 and died in 1929. As a young girl she went dancing with friends. Her way of dancing was sometimes a bit provocative and you could ocasionally see her legs and perhaps even more, when she moved around. She soon got the nickname "la Goulue" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Goulue), obviously because she drank from all glasses which were staying around.
She got acquainted with some painters, like Renoir and did some posing.
Louise and her sister got an engagement at the newly opened "Moulin Rouge" in 1889 (she was then 23). She bacame quickly a star and can be considered as the inventor of the "cancan". Her last years were less glorious. She was actually buried in a Paris suburb cemetary, but Jacques Chirac decided in 1992 to transfer her ashes to the Montmartre cemetary. Some 2000 people plus press, radio and television assisted.
Part of her fame comes of course from the Toulouse-Lautrec paintings and posters. You can here see some of them, but also some photos of what she really looked like. I guess she became popular more for her personality than for her beauty - although the criteria for beauty change with the time.