Linda Hopkins, one of Broadway’s great gospel and blues voices, died Monday in Milwaukee. She was 92. Perhaps best known for her popular one-woman show Me and Bessie — a 1970s tribute to blues singer Bessie Smith — and the 1980s revue Black and Blue, Hopkins won a Tony Award in 1972 for her show-stealing performance in the musical Inner City.
Hopkins’ Broadway success in Black and Blue, in which she shared the stage with Ruth Brown and Carrie Smith in the 1989 tribute to Harlem’s Cotton Club, earned her another Tony nomination. She lost to her co-star Brown.
Described today by Harvey Fierstein as an “irreplaceable American original,” Hopkins made her Broadway debut in 1970’s Purlie, and appeared in Clint Eastwood’s 1982 movie Honkytonk Man, 1974’s The Education of Sonny Carson, and, as a gospel singer, a 1979 episode of Roots: The Next Generation.
Hopkins continued to perform in concerts until suffering a stroke 10 years ago.
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SOURCE: Deadline, Greg Evans