B: October 10, 1933 in Newark, New Jersey
D: August 8, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario
Born in Newark, New Jersey in 1933, Salome Bey moved to Toronto in 1964 where she played the jazz club circuit. A renowned singer Bey was usually referred to as Canada’s “First Lady of the Blues.” She didn’t do much acting on film or television and probably won’t be remembered for any of her roles, but she was an active and important part of our rich performing arts community and she will be missed. Her Broadway debut came in October 1972 when she appeared in the short-lived musical Dude, from Hair creators Gerome Ragni and Galt MacDermot. That same year, she received an Obie Award for her work in Love Me, Love My Children (which had previously run in Canada under the title Justine). In 1976, she appeared in Alex Bradford, Micki Grant, and Vinnette Carroll’s Tony-nominated Your Arms Too Short to Box with God; her performance was preserved on the musical’s Grammy-nominated cast album. Bey subsequently created a cabaret show celebrating the history of Black music, Indigo, which brought two Dora Mavor Moore Awards for Outstanding Performance in a Revue or Musical and Outstanding Production of a Cabaret or Revue. She was honoured with a 1992 Toronto Arts Award and the Martin Luther King Jr. Award for lifetime achievement from the Black Theatre Workshop of Montreal in 1996. In 2005, Bey was made an honorary member of the Order of Canada.
In 2022, it was announced that Canada Post would honour Salome Bey, Canada’s First Lady of the Blues, with a new stamp at a ceremony, with a unique large-scale unveiling on April 21 at Meridian Hall in Toronto.
Features & TV Movies:
On Their Knees (Narrator, 2001)
TV Series – Guest appearances: