Ruth Bowen, the first black woman to establish a theatrical booking agency, the Bowen Agency , died April 21 in New York of a brain tumor. She was 84.
Bowen represented R&B and jazz recording artists including Dionne Warwick, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and Sammy Davis, Jr.
Founded in 1959 as Queen Booking, her agency later became known as Renaissance Talents in 1974 and was finally renamed The Bowen Agency Ltd., which grew to be the largest black-owned entertainment agency in the U.S.
Bowen is survived by her husband, Clarence “Billy” Bryant, and a brother.
Donations may be made to the Rhythm & Blues Foundation, care of The Bowen Agency Ltd., attn. Gary James, 301 E 79th St., New York, NY 10075.