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Backstage at "Two in a Bed"
Alternative Title
Shades of L.A. Photo Collection;
Shades of L.A. is an archive of photographs representing the contemporary and historic diversity of families in Los Angeles. Images were chosen from family albums and include daily life, social organizations, work, personal and holiday celebrations, and migration and immigration activities. Made possible and accessible through the generous support of the Security Pacific National Bank, Sunlaw Cogeneration Partners, Photo Friends, California Council for the Humanities, the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, and the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation
Date Created and/or Issued
Contributing Institution
Los Angeles Public Library
Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
Rights Information
Images available for reproduction and educational use. Please see the Ordering & Use page at for additional information.
The contents of this collection are restricted to personal, research, and non-commercial use. The Library cannot share the personal and/or contact information of the donors, their descendants, or associates who contributed photographs and oral histories to the collection.
Title supplied by cataloger.; Image is a reproduction.
Walter Lear Gordon, Jr. was born in Santa Monica, California, on June 22nd, 1908. He was African American. He grew up in Shutson Park (now called Rose Hill Park), near Pasadena, and attended Rose Hill Grammar School and then Lincoln High School. The neighborhood and grammar school were almost entirely white. After high school, he attended USC for two years before attending Ohio State University In 1936 he graduated from Ohio State Law School. After graduation, Walter and a friend moved back to California where they promoted shows and held dances under the name “Gordon and Nickens.” In 1948 Walter was married and practicing law in Santa Monica when both of his parents were murdered during a robbery. He defended Billie Holiday in several lawsuits and worked mainly in divorces and criminal defense. Most of his clients were also black. He was married five times and had three children with his second wife, Anne Franklin. He ran for a Republican seat in Congress in 1954-55 but was unsuccessful. He continued to work as a lawyer well into the 1990s.
Friends and well-wishers backstage on the opening night of "Two in a Bed," a 1946 play staged at the Musart Theatre, located at 1320 S. Figueroa Street. Identified in the group seen here are: Lena Horne (in white fur coat), singer and composer Lee Gaines (smiling, directly behind Horne), Mae Johnson, star of the show (to right of Horne, wearing pearl necklace), arranger Jimmy Mundy (in top hat), Billy Williams, member of the Charioteers (to the left of Horne), and M.C. and host Leonard Reed (at right, in suit and tie).
1 photographic print :b&w ;21 x 26 cm.
Photographic prints
Shades of L.A. Collection; Shades of L.A.: African American Community;
S-001-294 120
Horne, Lena
Gaines, Lee,--1914-1987
Mundy, Jimmy
Williams, Billy,--1916-1972
Johnson, Mae
Reed, Leonard
Musart Theatre (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Dancers--United States
Musicians--United States
Composers--United States
Singers--United States
Actors--United States
Entertainers--United States
Motion picture actors and actresses--United States
Theaters--California--Los Angeles
Downtown Los Angeles (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Shades of L.A. Collection photographs
Shades of L.A. African American photographs
Time Period
Gordon, Walter

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