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Bentley, Gladys (12 Aug. 1907–18 Jan. 1960), African American pianist, blues singer, and nightclub entertainer, was born Gladys Alberta Bentley in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the oldest of four children of George L. Bentley and Mary Mote Bentley. Her father was born in the United States, and her mother immigrated from Trinidad. Raised in a working-class family in Philadelphia, Bentley had a difficult childhood, and she often felt like an outcast. In an autobiographical essay for ...