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Bert Williams
Theater -- History -- 1...
 
Title
Bert Williams
Description
Cabinet card image of American minstrel performer Bert Williams. Bert Williams was one of the pre-eminent entertainers of the Vaudeville era and one of the most popular comedians for all audiences of his time. He was by far the best-selling black recording artist before 1920. Williams was a key figure in the development of African-American entertainment. In an age when racial inequality and stereotyping were commonplace, he became the first black American to take a lead role on the Broadway stage, and did much to push back racial barriers during his career. Fellow vaudevillian W.C. Fields, who appeared in productions with Williams, described him as 'the funniest man I ever saw -- and the saddest man I ever knew.'
Bert Williams
Theater -- History -- 1...
 
Title
Bert Williams
Description
Williams in blackface on sheet music cover for 'Come Right In, Sit Right Down, Make Yourself At Home.' Bert Williams was one of the pre-eminent entertainers of the Vaudeville era and one of the most popular comedians for all audiences of his time. He was by far the best-selling black recording artist before 1920. Williams was a key figure in the development of African-American entertainment. In an age when racial inequality and stereotyping were commonplace, he became the first black American to take a lead role on the Broadway stage, and did much to push back racial barriers during his career. Fellow vaudevillian W.C. Fields, who appeared in productions with Williams, described him as 'the funniest man I ever saw -- and the saddest man I ever knew.'
Bert Williams
Theater -- History -- 1...
 
Title
Bert Williams
Description
Williams in blackface on sheet music cover for 'It's Nobodys Business But My Own' for the 1919 Ziegfeld Frolic. Bert Williams was one of the pre-eminent entertainers of the Vaudeville era and one of the most popular comedians for all audiences of his time. He was by far the best-selling black recording artist before 1920. Williams was a key figure in the development of African-American entertainment. In an age when racial inequality and stereotyping were commonplace, he became the first black American to take a lead role on the Broadway stage, and did much to push back racial barriers during his career. Fellow vaudevillian W.C. Fields, who appeared in productions with Williams, described him as 'the funniest man I ever saw -- and the saddest man I ever knew.'
Bert Williams
Theater -- History -- 1...
 
Title
Bert Williams
Description
Bert Williams was one of the pre-eminent entertainers of the Vaudeville era and one of the most popular comedians for all audiences of his time. He was by far the best-selling black recording artist before 1920. Williams was a key figure in the development of African-American entertainment. In an age when racial inequality and stereotyping were commonplace, he became the first black American to take a lead role on the Broadway stage, and did much to push back racial barriers during his career. Fellow vaudevillian W.C. Fields, who appeared in productions with Williams, described him as 'the funniest man I ever saw -- and the saddest man I ever knew.'
Bert Williams
Theater -- History -- 1...
 
Title
Bert Williams
Description
Photo portrait of Vaudeville star Bert Williams, seen standing, with a lit cigarette in right hand. Bert Williams was one of the pre-eminent entertainers of the Vaudeville era and one of the most popular comedians for all audiences of his time. He was by far the best-selling black recording artist before 1920. Williams was a key figure in the development of African-American entertainment. In an age when racial inequality and stereotyping were commonplace, he became the first black American to take a lead role on the Broadway stage, and did much to push back racial barriers during his career. Fellow vaudevillian W.C. Fields, who appeared in productions with Williams, described him as 'the funniest man I ever saw -- and the saddest man I ever knew.'
Bert Williams
Theater -- History -- 1...
 
Title
Bert Williams
Description
Cabinet card. Bert Williams was one of the pre-eminent entertainers of the Vaudeville era and one of the most popular comedians for all audiences of his time. He was by far the best-selling black recording artist before 1920. Williams was a key figure in the development of African-American entertainment. In an age when racial inequality and stereotyping were commonplace, he became the first black American to take a lead role on the Broadway stage, and did much to push back racial barriers during his career. Fellow vaudevillian W.C. Fields, who appeared in productions with Williams, described him as 'the funniest man I ever saw -- and the saddest man I ever knew.'
Bert Williams
Theater -- History -- 1...
 
Title
Bert Williams
Description
Bert Williams, George Walker, Ada Overton Walker in Bandana Land, 1908. Bert Williams was one of the pre-eminent entertainers of the Vaudeville era and one of the most popular comedians for all audiences of his time. He was by far the best-selling black recording artist before 1920. Williams was a key figure in the development of African-American entertainment. In an age when racial inequality and stereotyping were commonplace, he became the first black American to take a lead role on the Broadway stage, and did much to push back racial barriers during his career. Fellow vaudevillian W.C. Fields, who appeared in productions with Williams, described him as 'the funniest man I ever saw -- and the saddest man I ever knew.'
Bert Williams
Theater -- History -- 1...
 
Title
Bert Williams
Description
Photo portrait of Vaudeville star Bert Williams in blackface with cigarette. Bert Williams was one of the pre-eminent entertainers of the Vaudeville era and one of the most popular comedians for all audiences of his time. He was by far the best-selling black recording artist before 1920. Williams was a key figure in the development of African-American entertainment. In an age when racial inequality and stereotyping were commonplace, he became the first black American to take a lead role on the Broadway stage, and did much to push back racial barriers during his career. Fellow vaudevillian W.C. Fields, who appeared in productions with Williams, described him as 'the funniest man I ever saw -- and the saddest man I ever knew.'
Bert Williams
Theater -- History -- 1...
 
Title
Bert Williams
Description
Williams in rooster costume with top hat, 1910, Ziegfeld Follies. The idea of a black-featured performer amid an otherwise all-white show was a shock in 1910. Williams' initial reception was cool, and several cast members delivered an ultimatum to Ziegfeld that Williams be fired. Ziegfeld held firm, saying: 'I can replace every one of you, except [Williams].' Bert Williams was one of the pre-eminent entertainers of the Vaudeville era and one of the most popular comedians for all audiences of his time. He was by far the best-selling black recording artist before 1920. Williams was a key figure in the development of African-American entertainment. In an age when racial inequality and stereotyping were commonplace, he became the first black American to take a lead role on the Broadway stage, and did much to push back racial barriers during his career. Fellow vaudevillian W.C. Fields, who appeared in productions with Williams, described him as 'the funniest man I ever saw -- and the saddest man I ever knew.'
Bert Williams
Theater -- History -- 1...
 
Title
Bert Williams
Description
Willaims on sheet music cover for 'Oh, I Don't Know, or I Thought I Was a Winner. Comic song and refrain with coon parody.' Bert Williams was one of the pre-eminent entertainers of the Vaudeville era and one of the most popular comedians for all audiences of his time. He was by far the best-selling black recording artist before 1920. Williams was a key figure in the development of African-American entertainment. In an age when racial inequality and stereotyping were commonplace, he became the first black American to take a lead role on the Broadway stage, and did much to push back racial barriers during his career. Fellow vaudevillian W.C. Fields, who appeared in productions with Williams, described him as 'the funniest man I ever saw -- and the saddest man I ever knew.'
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