Short Biography

Tess Gardella
Birth: 1897  ,Wilkes-Barre ,Luzerne County ,Pennsylvania, USA
Death: Jan. 3, 1950 ,Brooklyn ,Kings County ,New York, USA

Actress. She was an Italian-American born actress whom colored her face to play the character of Aunt Jemima in the original 1927, Broadway production of “Show Boat”. In the 1930s, she held the lead role on the “Aunt Jemima” radio program and in the two-reel film “A Swing Opera” (1938). Though her marker has the name “Aunt Jemima” on it, Tess Gardella is not considered the real Aunt Jemima according to the African American Registry, but she is widely excepted for her contributions to the character’s success used for product sales and commercials.