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08 August 2010

Joseph Dean (188? – 1963) gigolo, bar owner.

Short and dark-skinned, possibly born in Egypt of mixed parentage, Don Kimfull met Reginald de Veulle in Paris. They shared an interest in social occasions where dressing as female was encouraged, and were present at such a party in Maidenhead when locals started throwing stones. However Don avoided Regie in later years.

Don became involved in London in drug retailing, as a gigolo and sometimes as a thief, but avoided the inquest into the death of Billie Carleton in 1919 by claiming that he had pleurisy.

After time spent in France and Germany, he arrived in Tangiers in the 1930s, using the name Joseph Dean and became head barman at the El Minzah Hotel. He opened his own Dean’s Bar in 1937. During the Second World War it was rumoured that he fed information to intelligence services. He was also said to be a drug addict, and that he had been jailed for trafficking.

Dean’s Bar thrived as part of the Interzone where Tennessee Williams, Ian Fleming, Francis Bacon, Jane Bowles etc drank at one time or another. Dean took against William Burroughs on sight however and did not want to serve him.

There is no mention of cross-dressing in later years.
  • Robin Maugham. Escape from the Shadows; Robin Maugham, His Autobiography. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1972: 206.
  • Michelle Green. The Dream at the End of the World: Paul Bowles and the Literary Renegades in Tangier. New York, NY: HarperCollins, 1991. New York, NY: HarperPerennial, 1992: 46-7, 152, 229.
  • Marek Kohn. Dope Girls: The Birth of the British Drug Underground. London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1992: 21, 22, 78-9, 93, 108, 117-9.
  • Francis Poole. Everybody Comes to Dean's: Dean's Bar, Tangier ; with Two Poems. Newark, Delaware: Poporo Press, 2009.
  • Nicholas Kirshman. “Tangier”. Morocco Blog VIII.

Some point out that Dean was the real-life version of Rick in the film Casablanca.  However I was unable to find a statement that the authors of Casablanca did in fact have Dean in mind.

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