1908 - 1984

Jimmie Daniels was born in 1908 in Laredo, Texas and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas. He arrived in New York in the 1920s to attend Business College and become a secretary, but after finishing school he opted to go on stage. After some Broadway work, Daniels found his first professional singing gig at Harlem's Hot Cha nightclub. He left New York in 1933 for Europe where he became a popular cafe entertainer in Monte Carlo and London. After his return in 1934 Daniels began a two-year relationship with renowned architect Philip Johnson. In 1935 he met Herbert Jacoby who convinced him to come to Jacoby's Paris club. By 1939 he had again returned to New York and opened Jimmie Daniels' Nightclub, which succeeded by bringing downtown patrons uptown for an exotic night in Harlem. Daniels owned and operated the popular nightspot until joining the military in 1942. After World War Il he returned to New York's club scene where, by 1950, he became the singer/emcee of the Bon Soir supper club - a place where African Americans and whites, as well as gay and straight clientele, interacted without tension. The club, which hosted numerous rising stars, is perhaps best remembered as the legendary site of Barbra Streisand's first New York engagement in 1960. During this time Daniels became the lover of filmmaker Kenneth Macpherson, and later of fashion designer Rex Madsen. When he was let go from Bon Soir, after ten years, many of his loyal clientele left with him. The owners urged him to return, but he refused, and continued to perform around the city at clubs, parties, and festivals. In the early 1980's, Daniels often lived with and cared for his oldest, dearest friend, the legendary blues vocalist Alberta Hunter, whom he eventually preceded in death. The charismatic man who dazzled cafe society for decades passed at the age of 76 after suffering a stroke in 1984.


Gender Male

Sexual Orientation Gay

Gender Identity Cisgender

Ethnicity African American Black

Nations Affiliated United States

Era/Epoch Great Depression (1929-1939) Harlem Renaissance (1919-1929) Interwar Period (1918-1939) World War II (1939-1945)

Field(s) of Contribution







Original Biography Author
Victor Salvo
Biography Edited By
Owen Keehnen
Resources Coordination
Carrie Maxwell