elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Pat Bond (February 27, 1925 — December 24, 1990)

Pat Bond (February 27, 1925 — December 24, 1990) was an American actress who starred on stage and on television, as well as in motion pictures. She was openly lesbian and in many cases she was the first gay woman people saw on stage. Her career spanned some forty years.

Born Patricia Childers, she spent her childhood in Chicago. She and her family moved to Davenport, Iowa when she was a teenager. While there she attended a Roman Catholic women's college. She later equated this experience to "a finishing school where they finished me". She joined the Women's Army Corps in 1945. Having accepted her homosexuality by this point, she was interested in meeting other lesbians. She acted as a nurse for soldiers returning from the South Pacific and also served in occupied Japan.

Following her discharge from the army, Pat moved to San Francisco and became involved in the gay culture there. She earned a BA and MA in Theater from San Francisco State College. She also began acting on stage and performed in many plays, but did not become nationally known until footage from an interview with her appeared in a landmark documentary about gay people, titled Word is Out, released in 1978. Her performance in this film, in which she spoke comically and nostalgically about her experiences in the Army, stole the show, and launched her career as an actress and storyteller. By the late 1970s/80s, she was performing four one woman shows in theaters around the country.

Gerty Gerty Gerty Stein Is Back Back Back was perhaps her most popular performance. She played the legendary Gertrude Stein and recounted humorous stories of Gertrude's life in Paris with her companion, Alice B. Toklas. The show was a huge success and was televised repeatedly on PBS stations across the country. Her other well known stage shows were Conversations With Pat Bond, centering mainly on reminiscences of her youth, Murder In The WAC, focusing on the Army's lesbian purge in the late forties, and Lorena Hickock and Eleanor Roosevelt: A Love Story.

Pat's career continued to flourish throughout the 1980s. Her one woman shows were often sold out events and she became famous for her incredible comic timing. Film roles in Anti-Clock and The House Of God garnered her several good reviews, increasing her visibility and popularity even further. She was on the board of directors of Theater Rhinoceros in San Francisco and directed a number of plays there. She made a guest appearance on the sitcom Designing Women, playing one of Julia Sugarbaker's favorite school teachers who comes for a visit, and quickly wears out her welcome.

In 1990, Pat was honored by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in recognition of her army tenure at the end of World War II. She died of emphysema on Christmas Eve, 1990, in Marin County, California, aged 65. Her personal papers and photo albums were donated to the Gay and Lesbian Historical Society. In 1992, The Pat Bond Memorial Old Dyke Award was founded in her honor. The award goes to recognize Bay Area lesbians over 60 who have made outstanding contributions to the world.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pat_Bond

Further Readings:

Feminist Theatres in the USA: Staging Women's Experience (Gender in Performance) by Charlotte Canning
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (December 24, 1995)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 041509805X
ISBN-13: 978-0415098052
Amazon: Feminist Theatres in the USA: Staging Women's Experience

Feminist Theaters in the USA is a fresh, informative portrait of a key era in feminist and theater history It is vital reading for feminist students, theater historians and theater practitioners. Their continued movement forward will be challenged and enriched by this timely look back at the trials and accomplishments of their predecessors.
Canning interviews over thirty women who took part in the dynamic feminist theater of the 1970s and 1980s. They provide first-hand accounts of the excitement, struggles and innovations which formed their experience. From this foundation Cannning constructs a compelling combination of historical survey, critique and celebration which explores:
* The history of the groups and their formation
* The politics which shaped their work
* Their methods and creative processes
* The productions they brought to the stage
* The reception from critics and audiences

Coming Out Under Fire by Allan Berube
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Free Press (April 1, 2000)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0743210719
ISBN-13: 978-0743210713
Amazon: Coming Out Under Fire

Despite the many histories of the fighting men and women in World War II, none has been written about the estimated one million homosexuals. Here is a dramatic story of these people, revealing the history of the anti-gay policy pursued by the U.S. military authorities in World War II.

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Tags: gay classics

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