Pearl Bailey: The Black Dolly Gallagher Levi

  • Glenda E. Gill


During the seminar “Past and Present Regulations of Race and Ethnicity in the Theatre: Has Anything Changed?” the only white male of fifteen seminarians present asked the question, “Will there be no more white Othellos?” He believed, strongly, that white actors were losing good roles to minority actors, and especially bemoaned the possibility that the theatre might never again have a Sir Laurence Olivier play Othello. As the only African American member of the panel, I challenged the white male who was clearly asserting that only a white male could pose as the Moor in the sterling manner the role required. The occasion was the November 1998 annual meeting of the American Society for Theatre Research in Washington, D. C. There were tense moments and a fervent discussion session.


York Time White Male Tense Moment National Theatre Night Club 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Works Cited

  1. Associated Press, “Pearl Bailey’s Love Is Remembered at Her Funeral,” The New York Times 24 Aug. 1990, B, 7:1.Google Scholar
  2. Bailey, Pearl. The Raw Pearl. New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1968.Google Scholar
  3. Barnes, Clive. “Pearl Bailey Captures Audience From Start,” The New York Times Theater Review, 13 Nov. 1967, 61: 1.Google Scholar
  4. Bogle, Donald. Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies and Bucks. New York: Continuum, 1996.Google Scholar
  5. Byrd, Rudolph. Generations in Black and White. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1993.Google Scholar
  6. Calloway, Cab. “Unforgettable Pearl Bailey,” Reader’s Digest. Aug. 1991, 153–158.Google Scholar
  7. Current Biography Yearbook 1955. New York: H. W. Wilson Company, 1955, 34–36.Google Scholar
  8. Current Biography Yearbook 1969. New York: H.W. Wilson Company, 1969, 23–25.Google Scholar
  9. Feather, Leonard. “Drummer Bellson Brings Big Band to Disneyland; Jazz: The Musician-Composer Is Trying to Look Forward after the Funeral of His Wife, Pearl Bailey. His Daughter, Dee Dee, Will Join Him,” The Los Angeles Times, 1 Sept. 1990, F, 1: 5.Google Scholar
  10. Freeman, Morgan. Personal interview with author. 8 Feb. 1997.Google Scholar
  11. Isaacs, Edith. The Negro in the American Theatre. New York: Theatre Arts, 1947.Google Scholar
  12. Jarmon, Laura C. Entry on Pearl Bailey in Notable Black Women of America, ed. Jessie Carney Smith. Detroit: Gale, 1992, 32–34.Google Scholar
  13. Joslyn, Jay. “Pearl’s Exit Irks ‘Dolly’ Fans Here,” Milwaukee Journal n.d., n.p.Google Scholar
  14. Morris, Sarah P. Entry on Pearl Bailey in Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia. Darlene Clark Hine, ed. Brooklyn: Carlson Publishing Company, 1993, 66–68.Google Scholar
  15. Null, Gary. Black Hollywood: The Black Performer in Motion Pictures. New York: Citadel Press, 1975. (courtesy of Ed Hancock)Google Scholar
  16. “Pearl Bailey Mourned as Person of Love,” The Chicago Tribune 24 Aug. 1990, sec. 1, 13.Google Scholar
  17. Peterson, Bernard L., Jr. A Century of Musicals in Black and White: An Encyclopedia of Musical Stage Works by, about, or Involving African Americans. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1993.Google Scholar
  18. Thomas, Robert E. “Chronicle,” The New York Times, 12 July 1990, B, 4: 3.Google Scholar
  19. Wilson, John S. “Pearl Bailey, Musical Star and Humorist, Is Dead at 72,” The New York Times, 19 Aug. 1990, 21.Google Scholar
  20. Wilson, John S. “Cab Calloway Is Dead at 86; ‘Hi-de-hi-de-ho’ Jazz Man,” The New York Times, 20 Nov. 1994, 22.Google Scholar
  21. Woll, Allen. Black Musical Theatre: From Coontown to Dreamgirls. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Glenda E. Gill 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Glenda E. Gill

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations