- For the military installation, see Barbette
Barbette (birth name cited as Vander Clyde and Van der Clyde Broodway, birth year cited as 1899 and 1904 ) was a female impersonator, high wire performer and trapeze artist who attained great popularity throughout the United States but whose greatest fame came in Europe and especially Paris, France in the 1920s and 1930s. He performed trapeze and wire stunts in full drag, maintaining the illusion of femininity until the end of his act, when he would pull off his wig and strike exaggerated masculine poses. Barbette was championed by no less a personage than Jean Cocteau, who wrote a glowing review of a 1926 performance for Nouvelle Revue Française.
Barbette continued to perform until 1938, when a debilitating bout of pneumonia left him in need of surgery and extensive rehabilitation to allow him to walk again. He remained involved with a number of circuses, including Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, staging shows and training performers.
Barbette spent his last years in Round Rock, Texas, dying at his home there on August 5, 1973.
Films whose plots resemble Barbette's story and which may have been inspired by it include:
- Viktor und Viktoria
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