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Moms Mabley

Born:  March 19, 1894

Birthplace:   Brevard, NC

Died:   May 23, 1975

Place of Death:   White Plains, NY

Zodiac Sign:  Pisces

Loretta Mary Aiken aka Jackie "Moms" Mabley, was an American stand-up comedian and actress. Beginning her career on the theater stage in the 1920s, Mabley became a veteran entertainer of the Chitlin' Circuit of African-American vaudeville. Mabley later recorded comedy albums and appeared in films and on television programs including The Ed Sullivan Show and The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.

Mabley quickly became one of the most successful entertainers of the Chitlin' Circuit (although, as a Black woman, her wages were meager). She made her New York City debut at Connie's Inn in Harlem.

She came out as a lesbian in 1921 at the age of twenty-seven, becoming one of the first openly gay comedians. During the 1920s and 1930s she appeared in androgynous clothing and recorded several "lesbian stand-up" routines.

During the 1950s, Mabley—influenced by the maternal role she was filling for other comedians on the circuit—adopted the name "Moms" and the appearance of a toothless, bedraggled woman in a house dress and floppy hat. (Mabley also credited the name to her grandmother, who had been a driving force in the pursuit of her dreams.) The non-threatening persona aided her in addressing topics too edgy for most comics of the time, including racism, sexuality and having children after becoming a widow. A preference for handsome young men rather than "old washed-up geezers" became a signature bit.

In the 1960s, Mabley became known to a wider white audience, playing Carnegie Hall in 1962, and making a number of mainstream TV appearances, with multiple appearances on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Music became a regular part of her act, and a cover version of "Abraham, Martin and John" hit #35 on the Billboard Hot 100 on July 19, 1969, making Mabley, at 75, the oldest living person to have a U.S. Top 40 hit. Source.

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