Gertrude Gipson Penland

Gertrude Gipson Penland, a former nightclub owner, showbiz radio commentator and entertainment editor for the Los Angeles Sentinel and a syndicated columnist for numerous African-American newspapers nationwide, died May 25 of pneumonia in Los Angeles. Her age was unreported.

A New Jersey native , she relocated to Los Angeles as a child. She first worked as a writer and entertainment editor for the California Eagle, one of the first African-American newspapers. She later joined the Sentinel, where she served as the entertainment editor and also penned a popular column.

She remained at the Sentinel for more than 30 years, retiring in the early 1990s. She continued to write her Hollywood column called “Gertrude Gipson’s Candid Comments” which was syndicated in more than 120 African-American newspapers.

During the late 1950s, she and her husband, Elledge Penland, operated a nightclub on Western Avenue which showcased up-and-coming African American performers including Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor. she also worked as a publicist for Little Richard, Sam Cooke and Pryor.

She was a well-known advocate of job opportunities for African Americans and other minorities in the entertainment industry. In her later years she had her own daily aired radio talk show on KJLH called, “Hollywood Update,” where she tracked progress of Hollywood jobs for minorities.

Gipson was the first woman and black to be appointed to the California Motion Picture Development Council by then-Gov. Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown, which was established in 1982.

During her long career, Gipson was the recipient of many awards and commendations such as her 1980 Image Award by the NAACP for community service, the National Newspaper Publishers Assn. for “Best Entertainment Section,” Woman of the Year award from the National Assn. of Media Women in 1985, Women for Good Government Award, Los Angeles Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Award, and the Sugar Ray Robinson Foundation Youth Award.

Gipson is survived by two daughters and a brother.

More Scene

  • DF-10956_R – Gwilym Lee (Brian May) and

    'Bohemian Rhapsody' Producer Confirms Bryan Singer's Reason for Leaving, Says 'No One' Was Attached to Play Mercury

    “Bohemian Rhapsody” producer Graham King provided insight into some of the events surrounding the Golden Globe-winning film Saturday at the Producers Guild Awards Nominees Breakfast, including director Bryan Singer’s departure from the film partway through production. “It’s an unfortunate situation, with like 16, 17 days to go and Bryan Singer just had some issues, his [...]

  • Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce

    Mj Rodriguez, Nico Santos to Announce GLAAD Media Award Nominations

    Mj Rodriguez and Nico Santos are set to announce the nominees for the 30th annual GLAAD Media Awards. The “Pose” star and “Crazy Rich Asians” funny man will make the announcement during a live-stream hosted by AT&T and from the AT&T Hello Lounge at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday, Jan. 25. “The images and stories recognized [...]

  • Emile Hirsch, Matt SmileyEmile Hirsch hosts

    Emile Hirsch Hosts Smiley Face Art Opening at Mondrian Hotel

    Despite the rain on Wednesday night in West Hollywood, there were plenty of smiles inside the Mondrian hotel thanks to artist Matt Smiley‘s Refresh exhibition. Not only is Smiley his real last name, but several of his paintings and other pieces in the exhibit feature smiley faces. “I’ve seen more smiley symbolism lately, and I’ve [...]

  • Randall Park, left, and Constance Wu

    Constance Wu Wants Her 'Fresh Off the Boat' Co-Star Randall Park to Host the Oscars

    While the Academy may have decided to go hostless for this year’s Oscars, that doesn’t mean the rest of Hollywood has stopped thinking about who would be a good choice for the emceeing gig. Former host Whoopi Goldberg recently suggested Ken Jeong. Jeong said, when he was a guest on “The View,” Goldberg told him [...]

  • 'Schitt's Creek' Stars Reveal Dream Guest

    'Schitt's Creek' Cast Reveals Dream Guest Stars: Oprah, Beyonce and ...

    “Schitt’s Creek” has big dreams. Dan Levy, who stars as David on the series, says his wish list of guest stars includes Oprah, Beyonce, Mariah Carey and Gwyneth Paltrow. “All for different reasons, none of whom we’ll get,” he cracked at the Critics’ Choice Awards. For those who haven’t caught on to the “Schitt’s Creek” [...]

  • Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bundchen

    Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen to Be Honored at UCLA Science Gala

    Science can be very glamorous. It certainly will be during Oscar week on Feb. 21 when the UCLA Institute of the Environment & Sustainability (IoES) honors Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen for environmental activism at its annual Hollywood for Science Gala. “When I moved to LA, the air was unbreathable. Rivers were catching fire in [...]

  • Don Cheadle and Andrew Rannells Black

    Don Cheadle, Andrew Rannells Talk Snorting 'Coke' on 'Black Monday'

    “Black Monday” show creators David Caspe and Jordan Cahen divulged an intriguing detail to come later in the first season of the new Showtime comedy at its world premiere, held at the Theatre at Ace Hotel on Monday night in Los Angeles. “The fourth or fifth episode opens with a sexual harassment seminar, which very well [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content