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Tess Gardella (1894–1950)

Tess Gardella was born on December 19, 1894 in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, USA. She was an actress, known for Show Boat (1929), Stand Up and Cheer! (1934) and Honey (1930). She died on January 3, 1950 in Brooklyn, New York, USA. See full bio »

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Known For

Show Boat Queenie [prologue]
Stand Up and Cheer! Aunt Jemima
Honey Aunt Jemima


Hide Hide Show Show Actress (9 credits)
 1939 A Swing Opera (Short)
The Gypsy Queen (as Tess 'Aunt Jemima' Gardella)
 1938 Dave Apollon & His Orchestra (Short)
Aunt Jemima
 1936 Vitaphone Troupers (Short)
Aunt Jemima (as Aunt Jemima)
 1934 Stand Up and Cheer!
Aunt Jemima (as 'Aunt Jemima')
 1933 Rambling 'Round Radio Row #3 (Short)
Aunt Jemima (as Aunt Jemima)
 1932 The Lease Breakers (Short)
Aunt Jemima
 1930 Honey
Aunt Jemima (uncredited)
 1929 Show Boat
Queenie [prologue] (as Aunt Jemima)
 1927 Aunt Jemima: The Original Fun Flour Maker (Short)
Aunt Jemima (as Aunt Jemima)
Show Show Soundtrack (7 credits)
Show Show Self (1 credit)
Show Show Archive footage (4 credits)

Personal Details

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Alternate Names:

'Aunt Jemima' | Tess 'Aunt Jemima' Gardella | Aunt Jemima

Did You Know?


Ms. Gardella was a white Italian-American stage performer, but her usual stage persona, and actual stage name, was "Aunt Jemima", which she performed in blackface. It was in this persona that she played Queenie, the African-American cook, and wife of Joe, the deckhand, in the original Broadway production of "Show Boat" in 1927, as well as the first Broadway revival in 1932. She was the only white... See more »

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