Bentley, Gladys

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Bentley, Gladys Gender: F
Gladys Alberta Bentley
born on 12 August 1907 at 09:30 (= 09:30 AM )
Place Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 39n57, 75w10
Timezone EST h5w (is standard time)
Data source
BC/BR in hand
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Scholfield
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_leocol.18.gif 18°43' s_mo.18.gif s_vircol.18.gif 26°30 Asc.s_libcol.18.gif 09°46'

Gladys Bentley (Early 1930s)


American blues singer, pianist, and entertainer during the Harlem Renaissance. Bentley wore masculine attire and was openly lesbian early in her career, but during the McCarthy Era she started wearing dresses and married, claiming to have been "cured" by taking female hormones.

She moved to New York City from Philadelphia at the age of 16. Her career skyrocketed when she appeared at Harry Hansberry's Clam House in New York in the 1920s, as a black, lesbian, cross-dressing performer. She headlined in the early 1930s at Harlem's Ubangi Club, where she was backed up by a chorus line of drag queens. She dressed in men's clothes (including a signature tuxedo and top hat), played piano, and sang her own raunchy lyrics to popular tunes of the day in a deep, growling voice while flirting with women in the audience.

She toured the country, some destinations being Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Hollywood, where she was well liked by Cesar Romero, Hugh Herbert, Cary Grant, Barbara Stanwyck, and other celebrities.

On the decline of the Harlem speakeasies with the repeal of Prohibition, she relocated to southern California, where she was billed as "America's Greatest Sepia Piano Player" and the "Brown Bomber of Sophisticated Songs". She was frequently harassed for wearing men's clothing. She tried to continue her musical career but did not achieve as much success as she had had in the past.

Bentley died of pneumonia unexpectedly at her home in Los Angeles on 8 January 1960, aged 52.

Link to Wikipedia biography


Source Notes

Sy Scholfield provided birth certificate ("Helen Bently," daughter of George and Mary).


  • Traits : Body : Race (Black)
  • Diagnoses : Major Diseases : Pneumonia (Terminal)
  • Family : Relationship : Number of Marriages (One to a woman, one to a man)
  • Passions : Sexuality : Lesbian
  • Passions : Sexuality : Transvestite (Wore men's clothes)
  • Personal : Death : Illness/ Disease (Pneumonia)
  • Vocation : Entertainment : Comedy
  • Vocation : Entertainment : Comedy
  • Vocation : Entertainment : Live Stage
  • Vocation : Entertainment : Night Club/ Vaudeville
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Instrumentalist (Pianist)
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Vocalist/ Pop, Rock, etc. (Blues)