Bentley, Gladys, 1907-1960

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1907-08-12
Death 1960-01-18
Americans

Biographical notes:

Gladys Bentley (b. Aug. 12, 1907, Philadelphia, PA–d. Jan. 18, 1960, Los Angeles, CA) was a blues singer famous during the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s and 1930s. She is known for her cross-dressing performences, often dressing in men's clothes, while she played piano and sang her own raunchy lyrics to popular tunes of the day in a deep. After coming to New York City at age 16, Bentley, an open lesbian, made her name at the Clam House — Harlem’s most popular gay-friendly speakeasy.

In 1937, Bentley relocated to Los Angeles. She became a leading entertainer there and in the Bay Area. By 1958, she said she had completed an autobiography, “If This Be Sin,” but it was never published. She died from complications of the flu at age 52 while studying to become a minister.

Loading...

Loading Relationships

Information

Permalink:
http://n2t.net/ark:/99166/w65k0grw
Ark ID:
w65k0grw
SNAC ID:
65216031

Subjects:

not available for this record

Occupations:

  • Singers
  • Pianists

Places:

  • Hollywood, CA, US
  • United States, 00, US
  • Philadelphia, PA, US