As a teenager he started working as a amateur female impersonator, and at 19 was a member of the Jewel Box Review - where he took the name Tobi Marsh. He joined just after Dorian Wayne left creating a vacancy. In the early 1960s he was engaged at Club 82 where Tony Midnite was doing the costumes.
Tobi's lover was the 6'5" (1.96m) Yale-educated lawyer Sandy. Sandy liked to say that he was five foot 17 inches. He was a regular in Virginia Prince's FPE organization in New York, where he rarely wore female clothing, but did show photographs of himself so dressed. He was also part of the local bondage community.
Tobi had a part in the 1971 film, The Love Thrill Murders/Sweet Savior with Troy Donahue, as a hair-dresser in drag who is killed. He was also in Devil in High Heels, Grand Illusion, The Bedroom Window 1987.
Tobi did an European tour appearing at Chez Nous in Berlin (where his landlord subjected him to homophobic abuse), Madame Arthur's and Le Carrousel in Paris, but came home disillusioned:
"The local entertainers were resentful of Americans working in their countries. The standard of living was below par for an American. I cancelled my contract and came home."Tobi retired age 55. John Harvey died aged 74 from complications after a car accident.
- Darrell Raynor. A Year Among the Girls. New York: Lyle Stuart, 1966. New York: Lancer Books, 1968: 88.
- Kate Cummings. Katherine's Diary- the Story of a Transsexual. William Heinemann Australia 1992. Revised and updated 2008: 134, 148, 195-9, 218-9, 221, 224.
- "The Kings & Queens of Middle Tennessee, Or, a Brief History of Drag - in Nashville". Out & About Nashville, May 5, 2012. http://www.outandaboutnashville.com/story/kings-queens-middle-tennessee.
- Wayne Anderson. "Hidden History: Tobi Marsh & Club 82". Huffington Post, 06/14/2012. www.huffingtonpost.com/wayne-anderson/hidden-history-tobi-marsh_b_1592620.html.
- Wayne Anderson. "A Legend Leaves the Stage". Huffington Post, 11/16/2012. www.huffingtonpost.com/wayne-anderson/a-legend-leaves-the-stage_b_2143342.html.
- R. Kurt Johnson. "An American Drag Queen in West Berlin: The Negotiation of Homosexual Identity, Transgressive Behavior and Social Acceptance in late 1960s and early 1970s West Germany". Sexuality and Culture, 16,2,2012: 187-204.
One presumes that Prince was not informed about Sandy. While male lovers of trans women are mainly straight, in the 1960s Sandy would have been taken as gay for having Tobi as a lover. And into bondage too!
I've seen a few interviews with Tobi and blurbs about her on the internet. And for some strange reason it never mentions that she was part of the group "All That Glitters Is Not Girls" for YEARS in Boston, starting in the mid to late 70s. I think she took some time off in part of the 80s, but she was back doing drag in Boston in the early 90s. She did a wonderful fan dance and I took pictures of her performing in Boston both in the late 70's/early 80s and in the early 90s. I don't think she particularly loved Boston, but that was pretty much her home for at least 15-25 years!ReplyDelete