Bessie Barnes

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Bessie Barnes (January 28, 1905 – May 29, 1996) was a successful producer of nightclub entertainment in Chicago and Milwaukee.

Barnes excelled at the piano as a child, becoming an accompanist at her high school and later at Chicago area radio stations. She continued to pursue music into adulthood at Chicago Music College and VanderCook College of Music. Barnes became renowned for producing stage shows in Chicago nightclubs such as Rainbow Gardens, Friar's Inn, and the Rendezvous Café, where she worked with celebrities like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. She also produced shows at Picks Club Madrid in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Barnes married nightclub owner Billy G. Rankin in 1925, but the marriage ended in divorce. In 1931, she married Elmer J. Baril, who died in 1953. In the '50s, '60s, and '70s, Barnes taught music and choreography at several colleges and high schools in Illinois and Wisconsin. She died in Wisconsin on May 29, 1996.

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