March 27th People

March 27th

03-27-1952 – 02-03-2011 Maria Schneider – Born in Paris, France. She was a French actress. At the age of 19, she became well known for playing Jeanne opposite Marlon Brando in the film Last Tango in Paris (1972) and the Girl in The Passenger (1975) with Jack Nicholson. Schneider worked in more than 50 films and television productions between 1969 and 2008. During her career, she was a strong advocate for improving the work of women in film. In 1974, Schneider came out as bisexual but later confirmed that she was a lesbian. In the 1970s she was lovers with photographer and heiress, Joan Townsend. Schneider died of breast cancer in 2011. The song Maria from the 2012 album Banga by Patti Smith was written in memory of Schneider. 

03-27-1910 – 03-19-1999 Freda Beatrice Stark – Born in Kaeo, New Zealand. She was a New Zealand dancer, and a prosecution witness after the prescription drug overdose of her lover, Thelma Mareo, in 1935. During WWII, she was a famous exotic dancer at Auckland’s Wintergarden cabaret, a favorite of American troops, where she got the title “Fever of the Fleet.” In 1933, Stark met Thelma Trott, another dancer. The two women fell in love. At the time, Trott was married to Eric Mareo, the conductor of the show. The two women’s relationship ended abruptly in 1935 when Trott died of a fatal overdose of the prescription drug Veronal in unexplained circumstances, which lead to Mareo being charged with murder. Mareo was tried twice for the murder of Trott, was found guilty in both trials, and sentenced to death both times. (His sentence was later commuted to 12 years in prison.) Stark was a prosecution witness at both trials and was outed as a lesbian. Nude photographs of Stark were shown during the trial, but Stark remained cool, and was described as a model witness for the Crown. After WWII, Stark married Harold Robinson, a dancer and a gay man. They did not divorce until 1973 and remained close friends. In 1970, she became a secretary at the University of Auckland. Her life was celebrated in a biography, Freda Stark: Her Extraordinary Life and in the documentary, The Mighty Civic (1989). Stark died in March 1999 and is buried alongside Thelma Mareo in Auckland, New Zealand.

03-27-1937 – 02-15-1983 Jane Chambers – Born in Columbia, South Carolina, but grew up in Orlando, Florida. She was an American playwright. Chambers was a pioneer in writing theatrical works with openly lesbian characters. In 1968, while attending Goddard College, Vermont, she met Beth Allen, who would remain her lover, companion, and manager until Chambers’ death in 1983. In 1973, Chambers won a Writers Guild of America Award for the soap opera Search for Tomorrow. In 1974, her play A Late Snow, produced at Playwrights Horizons, was one of the earliest plays to portray lesbian characters in a positive light. Chambers wrote Last Summer at Bluefish Cove for the First Gay American Arts Festival in 1980. She died of cancer in 1983. Starting in 1984, there has been an annual award in her name, the Jane Chambers Playwriting Award.

03-27-1960 Reed Gusciora – Born in Passaic, New Jersey. He is an American Democratic Party politician. Member of the New Jersey General Assembly from the 15th district since 1996, he is the first ever out gay member of the New Jersey Legislature. He also serves as the prosecutor for Lawrence Township. Gusciora is a supporter of gay rights and marriage equality.

03-27-1975 Fergie (born Stacy Ann Ferguson) – Born in Hacienda Heights, California. She is an American singer, songwriter, fashion designer, television host, and actress. Fergie is best known as the female vocalist for the hip hop group The Black Eyed Peas. Fergie’s five solo singles and six singles with The Black Eyed Peas have reached the two million downloads in the United States. By 2011, she was the artist with the most downloads. In May 2009, Fergie officially came out as bisexual in The Sun. She later reconfirmed this during an interview with The Advocate. Fergie is married to actor Josh Duhamel and has one child. June 1, 2019, the couple divorced after two years of separation.

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