Queer Places:
2053 66th St, Brooklyn, NY 11204
Spivy’s Roof, 139 E 57th St, New York, NY 10022
Motion Picture Country Home, 23388 Mulholland Dr, Woodland Hills, CA 91364

Spivy: 'The Last of the Fleur de Levys' - San Francisco Bay Times | San  Francisco Bay TimesBertha Levine (September 30, 1906 – January 7, 1971),[1] who used the stage name Spivy (/ˈspɪvi/ SPIH-vee),[3] was an American entertainer, nightclub owner, and actress.[4][5]

Bertha Levine was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1906, the eldest of the four daughters of Louis and Helen Levine, Jewish immigrants from Russia.[6][4][7][8] She played organ in churches and theaters before establishing a career as a singer-pianist in speakeasies and nightclubs under the name Spivy Le Voe, which she later shortened to Spivy.[6] Her stage name was reportedly based on a younger sister's mispronunciation of the word "sister."[5]:31

In 1936 she became a regular act at Tony's, a New York nightclub on West 52nd Street, where she performed satirical songs, some of which were written by John Latouche and Jill Rainsford.[6][9] In 1939, the New York Times wrote that "Spivy's material, witty, acid, and tragicomic, is better than most of the essays one hears about town, and her delivery is that of a sophisticated artist on her own grounds. She knows the value of surprise in punching a line, she uses understatement unerringly, and her piano accompaniment is superb."[10] From 1940–1951 she ran her own nightclub, Spivy's Roof, on New York's East 57th Street.[6] The club was noted for its tolerance of gay performers and patrons; Spivy herself was a lesbian in private life. Among the artists who performed there were Frances Faye, Mabel Mercer, Moms Mabley, Thelma Carpenter, Paul Lynde, Martha Raye, Bea Arthur, Liberace, and actor-magician Fred Keating.[11][5][12] Although it was reported that Spivy and Keating intended to marry on Christmas Eve 1942,[13][14][15] this appears to have been a publicity stunt or lavender marriage.[16][17] She released two 78 rpm albums of songs,[6] which have never been reissued on CD. Her recordings indicate that her performing style was to "recite" (rather than sing) the lyrics over piano accompaniment.[18]

The Marvelous Madame Spivy – Original Cinemaniac

In the 1950s, Spivy spent several years touring Paris, London, and Rome before returning to the U.S. in 1957, where she embarked on a new career as a character actor, usually billed as Madame Spivy.[5] She had supporting roles in the films The Fugitive Kind, Studs Lonigan, All Fall Down, Requiem for a Heavyweight, and The Manchurian Candidate, where her stout physique led to her being cast as matronly or villainous characters.[Note 2] She also appeared on stage in a Broadway production of Auntie Mame.[19] Her best-remembered television appearance is a darkly humorous installment of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, the 1959 episode "Specialty of the House" in which she played the manager of a restaurant whose unsuspecting guests implicitly end up on the menu.[5]

By 1969, Spivy had been diagnosed with cancer. Her friend Patsy Kelly arranged for her to move into the Motion Picture Country Home in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles,[5][4] where she died on January 7, 1971, aged 64.[1][Note 1]

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