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 Totie Fields

Totie Fields

Original Name Johnston
Hartford, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA
Death 2 Aug 1978 (aged 48)
Las Vegas, Clark County, Nevada, USA
Burial 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. Born Sophia Feldman in Hartford, Connecticut, her career began with singing on local radio stations by the age of four. In her teens she she worked the Borscht Belt and by age 20 she served in Boston clubs as master of ceremonies at a time when MC's were usually male. After marrying fellow comic George William Johnston, Jr. in 1950 and having two daughters, the diminutive lady began gaining weight, and cheerfully incorporated this common struggle into her act which was filled with self-deprecating humor and schticks about dieting, while simultaneously shining with charming self-love. She'd proclaim "I'm fat!" knowing "it deprives the smart alecks from mouthing loud asides all night - they're left with nothing to say!" Ed Sullivan caught her routine at the Copacabana and had her on his show many times, making her among the first nationally-known comediennes. 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. She made jokes even of the health pitfalls which befell her in later life, including diabetes, an amputated leg, a mastectomy, and two heart attacks, showing 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, she was stricken at home by a blood clot, and pronounced dead at the Sunrise Hospital of that city. Remembered for her candid and raucous manner, in her time she was a rare woman in the male-dominated world of comedy, as is regarded as having helped paved the way for later female comics.

Bio by: sr/ks

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 10 Feb 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 4515
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : 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 .