Unforgettable Performers & Legends at Bimbo’s 365 Club: Charles Pierce

We like our camp with a whole lotta glam and the evenings we had with Charles Pierce in the 1970s were ones that hold a special place in our hearts. One of the most famous female impersonators of our time, Pierce truly was “the Master and Mistress of Surprise or Disguise.” His career included acting and radio announcing but as a female impersonator, Pierce left his audiences weak with laughter. He brightened our lives with his wicked and sometimes irreverent impressions of film stars ranging from Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Tallulah Bankhead, Carol Channing, Katharine Hepburn and even “Mrs. Olsen” of the Folgers coffee commercials. Restaurateur Les Natali, who produced several of Pierce’s shows at Bimbo’s 365 Club in the early 1970s (a Blue Thumb LP was made of this show!) remarked, “I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Charles as a fan and a friend for thirty years. He was always fun to be with, on stage and off, so witty, so sharp, so perceptive, and always ready with a line to provoke a laugh. What made Charles happy was making other people happy. And he was the best. I will miss him dearly.”

Even San Francisco’s toughest critic, Herb Caen, was so impressed with Pierce that he gave him the official title “Male Actress” in a SF Chronicle review.
“There’s nothing wrong with showbiz that talent can’t cure. By talent I mean Male Actress Charles Pierce, who, outrageously gowned filled Bimbo’s wall-to-wall five nights running last week. He returns July 20, and don’t miss him! Unless you think that camping is something that belongs only in the great outdoors. Charles is an indoor camper, and the best!” —Herb Caen, San Francisco Chronicle

Happy SF Pride everyone!

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