Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday Picture(1915 – 1959) Musician.

Billie Holiday was a prominent jazz vocalist and song stylist of the 1930s. Starting off her career in Harlem nightclubs, Billie’s fame soon was widespread including popular recordings with pianist Teddy Wilson and his band. Also known as “Lady Day”, Holiday is remembered for her work with saxophonist Lester Young and her recordings “Strange Fruit” and “God Bless the Child”.

In life, Holiday faced many personal tragedies and a drug addiction. She served time in prison and had a number of lesbian relationships while incarcerated.  Throughout her career, Holiday was openly bisexual and was rumored to have dated a notable amount of stage and actresses including Tallulah Bankhead.

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“The Icon History Display was created by a student intern and is not meant to replace a comprehensive search on these historical figures. Content on these biographies was created from the following sources: Queers in History: The Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Historical Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, and Transgenders by Keith Stern (2009); The Gay 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Gay Men and Lesbians, Past and Present by Paul Russell (1995). To suggest an addition or change contact us at or 217-206-8316.”