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Overview for Pearl Bailey
Pearl Bailey

Pearl Bailey


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Also Known As: Died: August 17, 1990
Born: March 29, 1918 Cause of Death: probable heart attack
Birth Place: Newport News, Virginia, USA Profession: Cast ...


"Pearl Bailey, the first black beauty to make waves [in the postwar era], was hardly anyone's idea of a woman who might use sex to stalk a man down or to lash out at society. Instead Pearlie Mae personified the lively down-home diva, the ordinary, chatty, wisecracking neighborly lady who was telling a generation scared of its own shadow to just cool it honey, sit back, relax, and have some fun. She became a star by often laughing at and joking about the birds and bees, romance and men ...

Another comic selling point was her fatigue ... Sometimes Bailey's act was criticized as being a throwback to prewar stereotypes. Actually, the humor was both old and new ... Bailey, however, was always a soothing figure. She used humor to communicate her view of the world as a joyous, harmonious place that had no great problems or tensions. (This point of view, so much admired in the fifties, often distressed younger black audiences of later periods.) --Donald Bogle ("Brown Sugar", Da Capo Press, 1980)

She was named Cue Magazine's Entertainer of the Year (1967).

Received the March of Dimes Award in 1968.

She was appointed "Ambassador of Love to the Entire World" in 1971.

Named special advisor to the US Mission to the United Nations by former President Gerald Ford in 1975.

She received the USO's Woman of the Year Award twice.

Awarded the Medal of Freedom in 1988.

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