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Karl Gerhard
(1891 - 1964) Sweden

Karl Gerhard

Entertainer, songwriter

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Gerhard started out as a dramatic actor, but from the 1920s onwards rose to fame by introducing a new form of revue in which he satirised contemporary trends, politicians and society figures.Karl Gerhard

Cabaret entertainer, Gerhard both wrote and starred in all his revues, producing over 60 of them and writing more than 4,000 songs, including his signature number Jazzgossen ('The Jazz Boy') from 1922, in which he satirises the effeminate homosexual dandies of the 1920s.

During the 1930s he became a staunch opponent of Nazism and Fascism, and in 1941 one of his revues was censored after an intervention from the German ambassador. Gerhard, who was married three times, spent the latter part of his life living with another man and adopted a daughter.

An inspired female impersonator, Gerhard also dealt with the themes of homosexuality in some of his songs, and did so very openly despite homosexuality being illegal at the time.

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Source: excerpts from: Aldrich R. & Wotherspoon G., Who's Who in Gay and Lesbian History, from Antiquity to WWII, Routledge, London, 2001 - et alii

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