Billy Tipton © wood engraving (ed. 40) image: 7 x 5 in. $100.00 (go to "Hi There" for purchase information)
Jazz musician, Billy Tipton (piano and alto saxophone) avoided the jazz fame that came his way in the late 1950s. In 1989 in Spokane, Washington he collapsed and died in the trailer he was sharing with his adopted son, thereby achieving fame of a sort he was never seeking. The paramedics and the doctor conducting the autopsy were stunned when they learned a secret which Billy had successfully kept from various band members, three wives and three adopted sons for decades... the secret that he was actually a woman! He had been born Dorothy Tipton in 1914. Dorothy loved jazz music and learned early on that the best opportunities for a jazz musician came to men. She cut her hair short and dressed as a young man to improve her chances for jobs. The story of her life of deception and her complicated attempts to keep her secret from all those she met, both men and women, is both fascinating and tragic.

Back to Collection of Odd-Balls

Back to Wood Engravings