Barbra Amesbury

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Barbra Amesbury
Birth name William Amesbury
Born 1948 (age 66–67)
Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Canada
Occupation(s) Philanthropist, singer-songwriter, composer, filmmaker
Years active 1970s–present

Barbra Amesbury (born 1948 in Kirkland Lake, Ontario) is a Canadian philanthropist, singer-songwriter, composer and filmmaker, who had several Top 40 hits in Canada in the 1970s as Bill Amesbury before coming out as transsexual. Amesbury is the long-time partner of Canadian philanthropist Joan Chalmers.


Amesbury's biggest hit was "Virginia (Touch Me Like You Do)", which was also the first single (1974) ever released on the Casablanca Records label. "Can You Feel It" was also a minor hit in 1976. Amesbury's "Nothin' But a Fool" has been covered by Natalie Cole, and "A Thrill's a Thrill" has been covered by Long John Baldry and by Mitch Ryder with Marianne Faithfull and John Cougar.

In 1976 and 1977, Amesbury produced "No Charge" by J.J. Barrie, which became a number one hit in England.[citation needed]

In 1999, "Virginia" was given an award by SOCAN to mark 100,000 spins on Canadian radio stations.[citation needed]

In 2002, James Collins and Dave Pickell released the single "Do You Mind If We Talk About Bill?", which was written about Amesbury.[1]

Filmmaking and art[edit]

In 1994, Amesbury and her partner Joan Chalmers organized an art exhibition called Survivors, In Search of a Voice: The Art of Courage, using the stories of breast cancer survivors to inspire 24 women artists to create works of art aimed at raising awareness of breast cancer.[2][3] The exhibition toured throughout North America from 1995 to 1998, accompanied by a companion book.[citation needed] Amesbury also shot a documentary film of the tour.

In 2006 and 2007, her documentary film The G8 is Coming...The G8 is Coming was an official selection of the Rome International Film Festival, the Ashville Film Festival, the Atlanta Film Festival, the Southern Winds Film Festival, and the Dixie Film Festival.[citation needed]

Amesbury and Chalmers have provided support and donations to a variety of charities and organizations through their Woodlawn Arts Foundation. In 2010 the Foundation made a significant donation of art to The 519 Church Street Community Centre to mark the official opening of The Centre's expansion including pieces from the Survivors exhibition and a piece by John B. Boyle.[citation needed]


  • Jus' a Taste of the Kid (1974 - album)
  • Can You Feel It (1976 - album)
  • "You Belong to Me", b/w "Harlow" (1977 - single, unavailable on any commercially-released album)