Gary Paradis, from Ohio, was raised by an aunt after both parents died in a car crash. At age 16, Gary went to live with relatives in New York, and based on appearance alone was able to get a job, using the name Gayle Sherman, in the chorus line at the Jewel Box Revue.
Later she worked at the 82 Club and then at a small club in Toledo featuring 4 strippers and 2 female impersonators, but the club did not say which was which. A customer fell in love with Gayle, and then killed himself in a car accident when he finally realized that that she was one of the female impersonators.
Gayle moved to Chicago and became a star at the Nite Life, Chicago's longest-running drag bar (early 1940s – 1981). She was mentored by Tony Midnite. Nightlife magazine ran with a cover photograph of Gayle in July 1963 advertising the show at the Nite Life with Vicki Marlane. She was said to be a twin for Sophia Loren.
Gayle replaced Tony at the Blue Dahlia, a straight club. She was able to charge $100 just to
After surgery Gayle was not allowed to work any more as a female impersonator, and so changed her name to Brandy Alexander and became a stripper. With implants her breast measurement was 48" (122 cm) and she performed as Alexandra 'The Great 48'. She often worked between films in porn cinemas, but when Chicago Mayor Richard Daley pulled their licenses, she got a gig in Hawai'i, and was featured in Confidential Magazine three years later.
She retired from performing at age 48.
She became a cosmetologist.
Gayle died in 2019 at age 79.
*Not Gayle Sherman the 1990s stuntwoman, nor the harpist, nor the wife of Pastor Paul Sherman.
Not the Brandy Alexander of New York, also a drag performer, and mentioned on p157-8 of Randy Shilts' And the Band Played On.
- Gayle Sherman. "I Want to be a Woman". National Insider, 3,17, Oct 27, 1963. Reprinted in I Want to be a Woman!: The True Autobiography of Female Impersonator Gayle Sherman. Chicago: Novel Books 1964.
- Joanne Meyerowitz. How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States. Harvard University Press. 363 pp 2002: 184, 199, 323, 325.
- Sukie de la Croix. " Talking to Viki St. John about the 1960s Part 6". Windy City Media, 2001-01-10. www.windycitymediagroup.com/m/APParticle.php?AID=24378&i=22&s=News.
- Sukie de la Croix. "Whispers". Windy City Times, 2001-04-04 and 2001-04-25. www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php?AID=32850. www.windycitytimes.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php?AID=24912.
- St. Sukie De la Croix. Chicago Whispers: A History of LGBT Chicago Before Stonewall. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2012: 240-2.
$2,400 in the mid 1960s would be $17,000 today. To pay that amount in cash today would probably initiate a criminal investigation.
Thank you Morgan Stevens.
She is featured in 2010`s doccumentary Behind the burly Q. Still a good looking lady!ReplyDelete
yes Gerri Weiss is the "real" Alexandra the Great - a lovely interview and person. - Leslie ZemeckisReplyDelete
Have some sad news to report. Gayle Sherman a/k/a Gerri Weiss passed away last week at the age of 79. A very nice obit and story about her life and career is posted on her Face Book Page. Just go to Fb and type in Gerri Weiss. It will pop up.
Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but since your site is so good and comprehensive, just thought you'd want to know about another legend who has left us.
Best Regards and keep up the great work with your web site.
Geraldine "Gerri" Marie Weise (September 28, 1939 - February 22, 2019)ReplyDelete