January 31st People

January 31st

01-31-1902 – 12-12-1968 Tallulah Bankhead – Born in Huntsville, Alabama. She was an award winning American actress of the stage and screen. Bankhead was also known for her deep voice, flamboyant tall personality, romances with men and women, and support of liberal causes, which broke with the tendency of southern Democrats at the time to support a more conservative agenda. Her 1932 movie, Devil and the Deep, is notable for the presence of three major co-stars, with Bankhead receiving top billing over Gary Cooper, Charles Laughton, and Cary Grant. She later said, “Dahling, the main reason I accepted [the part] was to fuck that divine Gary Cooper!” In 1939 she won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Performance as the ruthless Regina Giddens in Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes. She won another New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award in 1942 for her performance in Thornton Wilder’s . In 1944, Alfred Hitchcock cast her in Lifeboat. It was her most successful film, both critically and commercially, and won her the New York Film Critics Circle Award. After WWII, Bankhead appeared in a revival of Noel Coward’s Private Lives, taking it on tour, and then to Broadway for the better part of two years. Rumors about her sex life have lingered for years, and she was linked romantically with many notable female personalities of the day, including Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Eva Le Gallienne, Hattie McDaniel, and Alla Nazimova, as well as writer Mercedes de Acosta, and singer Billie Holiday. Actress Patsy Kelly claimed she had a sexual relationship with Bankhead when she worked as her personal assistant. Bankhead never publicly described herself as being bisexual. She did, however, describe herself as “ambisextrous.”

01-31-1900 – 07-23-1982 Betty Parsons (Born Betty Bierne Pierson) – Born in New York City, New York. She was an American artist, art dealer, and collector, known for her early promotion of Abstract Expressionism. In 1920, she married Schuyler Livingston Parson, a rich, alcoholic gay man. After the couple divorced in 1923, Betty Parsons, as she was called for the rest of her life, moved to Paris. For the eight or ten years that she lived in France, she had an affair with the English painter Adge Baker. The two women shared a house together for six years on Rue Boulard in Montparnasse. They would remain friends for the rest of her life. Parsons moved back to the U.S. in 1933. During the McCarthy years she went back into the closet, but supported gay, lesbian, and bisexual artists during this time of oppression. From the mid-1940s until the mid-1950s, she was involved with actress and painter, Strelsa van Scriver. In 1946, she opened the Betty Parsons Gallery in New York City and exhibited for the first time publicly Abstract Expressionist. The gallery became one of the most prestigious of the mid-twentieth century. It closed in 1981, a year before Parson’s death.

01-31-1905 – 07-13-1960 Anna Blaman – Born in Rotterdam, Netherlands. She was a Dutch writer and poet. Anna Blaman was her pen name. She was born Johanna anna-blamanPetronella Vrugt. Her novel, A Matter of Life and Death (1954) is her most notable work and was translated into English in 1974. As a high profile figure, who was openly lesbian, she helped open doors for other Dutch lesbians. At the age of 55, she died of a cerebral embolism. The Dutch film, To Play or to Die (1990) was based on one of her stories.

01-31-1908 – 12-16-1992 Erica Brausen – Born in Düsseldorf, Germany. She was an art dealer and established the Hanover Gallery in London in 1946. Brausen supported several influential contemporary artists, including Francis Bacon. As a German national, she erica-brausen-2encountered many difficulties and restrictions. A gay artist friend married her which allowed her to work legally. From 1946 until 1973, the Hanover Gallery was among the most influential galleries in Europe. Other artists that the galley represented included Alberto Giacometti, Lucian Freud, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, and Henry Moore. Brausen was a lesbian and her life partner was Catharina “Toto” Koopman, a one-time Chanel model and film actress. The two met in 1945. Koopman helped Brausen run the Hanover Gallery and the two women lived openly together until Koopman’s death in 1991.

01-31-1952   Brad Gooch – Raised in Kingston, Pennsylvania. He is an American writer. His 2015 memoir Smash Cut recounts life in 1970s and 1980s New York City, including the time Gooch spent as a fashion model, life with his then-boyfriend filmmaker Howard Brookner, living in the famous Chelsea Hotel and the first decade of the AIDS crisis. Gooch is currently a Professor of English at William Paterson University in New Jersey. He is married to writer and religious activist Paul Raushenbush. They have two children.

Photo courtesy of Larry D. Moore (2009)

01-31-1973 Portia de Rossi (born Amanda Lee Rogers) – Born in Horsham, Australia. She is an Australian actress, model, and philanthropist, known for her roles as lawyer portia-de-rossiNelle Porter on the television series Ally McBeal and Lindsey Fünke on the sitcom Arrested Development. She is married to American stand-up comedian, television host, and actress, Ellen DeGeneres. From 2000 to 2004, she dated singer Francesca Gregorini, the daughter of Barbara Bach and the stepdaughter of Ringo Star. She said that most of her family and the Ally McBeal cast did not know she was a lesbian until tabloid pictures of the couple appeared. She declined to publicly discuss the relationship or her sexual orientation at the time. In 2004, Rossi began dating Ellen DeGeneres. In 2005, she opened up publicly about her sexual orientation in interviews with Details and The Advocate. On August 16, 2010, she and Ellen married. In 2011 she became a US citizen. She currently stars on Scandal as Elizabeth North.

01-31-1977 Kerry Washington – Born in The Bronx, New York City, New York. She is an American actress and an LGBT straight ally. She is well known for her starring role in kerry-washingtonthe ABC drama Scandal and for her role in the film Ray (2004). In April 2014, Time magazine listed her in its annual TIME 100 as one of the “Most influential People in the World.” She is a vocal supporter of gay rights. In August 2013, she was named honorary chairperson of the GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) and she received the GLADD Vanguard Award on March 21, 2015. She is married to former NFL player Nnamdi Asomugha.

01-31-1980   James Adomian – Born in Omaha, Nebraska. He is an American standup comedian, actor and impressionist. He is best know for his work on Comedy Bang Bang, Last Comic Standing and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson where he impersonated President George W. Bush until 2009. Adomian is openly gay. He is the grandson of Armenian-American mathematician George Adomian.

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