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Suits Me: The Double Life of Billy Tiptonby Diane W Middlebrook
Synopses & Reviews
Suits Me is the biography of a jazz musician named Billy Tipton, who grew up as Dorothy Tipton in Oklahoma City and Kansas City but lived as a man from the time she was nineteen until she died at age seventy-four. Billy Tipton's death in Spokane, Washington, made news all over the world, not because he was celebrated as a musician but because the scale of his deception - he had been married to five women and had reared several adopted children - and the scarcity of ready explanations endowed the skimpy available facts with the aura of myth. Locked away in Billy's office closet lay the record of a lifetime's achievements: clippings and photographs documenting the transformation of Billy from she to he, and a legacy of annotated comic routines, musical arrangements, and program notes that tell an extraordinary story. These reveal how, night after night, Billy scattered clues and riddles about the drag she wore, including risque gags about homosexuality and jokes that called attention t
The jazz pianist Billy Tipton was born in Oklahoma City as Dorothy Tipton, but almost nobody knew the truth until the day he died, in Spokane in 1989. Over a fifty-year performing career, Billy Tipton fooled nearly everyone, including Duke Ellington and Norma Teagarden, five successive "wives" with whom Billy lived as a man, and three children who he "fathered." As Billy Tipton herself said, "Some people might think I'm a freak or a hermaphrodite. I'm not. I'm a normal person. This has been my choice." This jazz-era biography evokes the rich popular-music history of the Great Depression and reads like a detective story.
Jazz musician Billy Tipton grew up as Dorothy Tipton but lived as a man from the time she was 19 until she died at age 74. Tipton's death made news all over the world, not because he was celebrated as a musician but because the scale of his deception: he had "married" five women and had reared several adopted children. 60 photos.
About the Author
Dianne Wood Middlebrook is the author of several volumes of poetry and critism as well as the prizewinning bestseller Anne Sexton: A biography. The recipient of many fellowships and awards, she is a professor of English at Stanford University, where she has also served as the director of the center for research on women. She currently lives in San Francisco.
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Arts and Entertainment » Music » Genres and Styles » Jazz