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Nan Blackstone
(1905 - September 24, 1951) U.S.A.

Nan Blackstone

Singer, performer


Born Naomi Ewald in Minnesota, she attended high school and music school in Chicago, adopted the stage name Blackstone, later dropping the "c" from the name to avoid confusion with the famous magician Blackstone.

Appeared in "The Far Cry" at the Liberty Theatre, NYC in 1926. In 1930 she was in Ruth Selwyn's "Nine Fifteen Review" and starred in the Theatre Guild's Garrick Gaieties in the summer of that year. In 1931 she was at the Club Argonaut, NYC with "pansy" star Jean Malin. Opened at the Monseigneur in London, January 26, 1932 for a short appearance and went over so well that her engagement was extended through the summer. Returned to the U.S. in November to appear in "Forward March." Headlined at the Caveau Basque in February of 1934, The Casino Town Club with Bruz Fletcher in March/early April, then moved to the Petit Palais. She appeared at the Clover Club in Los Angeles in 1934-5 and married Heine Brand in October. H. Brand produced a recording session in March of 1936 during one of her many dates at Chicago's Colony Club. To the Yacht Club (NYC) in 1936. Her face was disfigured in a 1937 car crash but she returned to performing after a couple of months' recuperation despite lingering dental and spinal problems.

Her publicist restyled her name to "nan BlaKstone" during a trip to the west coast in May of 1939. She appeared at the Moulin Rouge in New Orleans in 1941, the Chase Hotel in St. Louis and the Cafe Esquire in Montreal in 1942 where one late-Winter reviewer raved "Nan Blakstone could bring a Montreal audience to an unheated barn."

About the only time in her professional career that she stayed put was during the six months she ran her own Club Carousel at 8 West 52nd St. in New York City in 1944. In conjunction with this venture published a collection of her special material as "Nan Blakstone's Party Room" with second husband and manager Ronald. A. Gerard. Despite being much younger than Nan, Gerard controlled her business affairs and managed her act. He designed advertising, organized the presentation and controlled the bookings.

She finally achieved the ultimate recognition available to her profession when she was officially "banned in Boston" during a run at the Satire Room of the Hotel Fengate late that year. Though her material was for adult audiences she experienced relatively few problems with officialdom while performing. In fact she was brought in to replace some scandal-ridden black performers at Lindsay's Sky-Bar in Cleveland in 1942. Only La Conga, NY in 1943 had serious problems with her act and she would return to the Fengate in 1947. Broadway beckoned in 1946 and she headlined Irving Kaye Davis' play with music "Cap and Gown." In 1947 she had a highly successful run at Ruby Foo's in Montreal.

Ben Lane of Gala Records began to court Blakstone and Gerard early in 1947 as the two-year moratorium on re-recording tunes for other companies approached the expiration date but there was considerable suspicion regarding Lane's accounting practices. Blakstone suffered a stroke in June of 1949 but recovered and was back performing at the Catalina Lounge in Houston by year's end. Died suddenly of a cerebral hemorrhage September 24, 1951.


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