Totie Fields

Totie Fields

Original Name Johnston
Birth
Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA
Death 2 Aug 1978 (aged 48)
Las Vegas, Clark County, Nevada, USA
Burial
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Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Gardens of Heritage, Main Level, Crypt 60C
Memorial ID 4515 · View Source
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Comedian. She will be remembered for her successful career as a comedian and being named “Entertainer of the Year” and female comedy star of the year by the American Guild of Variety Artists. Born Sophia Feldman, her career began at four years old with singing on local radio stations. In her teens she worked for the Borscht Belt of the summer resorts of the Catskill Mountains in New York State, and by twenty, she had broken the gender barrier becoming one of the first females to be master of ceremonies at night clubs in Boston, Massachusetts. After marrying fellow comic George William Johnston, Jr. in 1950 and having two daughters, the diminutive lady began to gain weight and cheerfully incorporated this common struggle into her act, which was filled with self-deprecating humor and shticks about dieting, while simultaneously shining charming self-love. She would proclaim “I'm fat!," which deprived the smart remarks from her audiences. She was 4 feet 11 inches tall and weighed 170 pounds. Ed Sullivan caught her routine at the Copacabana in New York City and had her appear on his TV show more than two dozen times, making her among the first nationally-known comediennes. She had acting roles in “That's Life” in 1968, “The ABC Comedy Hour” in 1972, and “Medical Center” in 1969. A spirited and sassy lady who often appeared in over-the-top full-skirted floral dresses and later, Bob Mackie costumes, she became a fixture on talk shows such as the Mike Douglas Show or the Merv Griffin Show. As one of the nation's premier comics, she earned in the 1960's $200,000 a year. She made jokes even of the health pitfalls which befell her in later life, including diabetes, an amputated leg, a right mastectomy, cosmetic eye surgery with the complication of phlebitis in her leg, and two heart attacks. She proved to her audience that if she could laugh at her difficulties, they could as well. Scheduled to begin a two-week engagement at the Sahara in Las Vegas, Nevada, she was stricken at her home with a blood clot to her lungs and pronounced dead at the hospital. Remembered for her candid and raucous manner, in her time she was a rare woman in the male-dominated world of comedy, thus paving the way for future women comics. Her cremated remains were temporarily interred in Las Vegas until the death of her husband and they were interred together in Los Angles. She published a book, “I Think I'll Start On Monday: The Official 8½ oz Mashed Potato Diet.” In the 1977 HBO special series “Standing Room Only,” she began her show seated in a wheelchair post-op her amputation and stood up as the audience welcomed her.

Bio by: sr/ks


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 9 Feb 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 4515
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Totie Fields (7 May 1930–2 Aug 1978), Find A Grave Memorial no. 4515, citing Mount Sinai Memorial Park, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .