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

  • Angler Los Angeles

    Angler Is L.A.'s Major New Seafood Destination

    San Francisco transplant Angler is set to make a major splash in Los Angeles, as Joshua Skenes’ innovative seafood-focused restaurant opens in the somewhat unlikely location of the Beverly Center. Angler is the latest and the most ambitious restaurant to join a fresh crop of spots, including Cal Mare and Yardbird, on the recently refurbished [...]

  • Bette Midler

    Bette Midler Set for Special Performance at New York Pride (EXCLUSIVE)

    Bette Midler is set to appear at New York’s Pride Main Event this Saturday (June 29) at the Javits Center. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, she’ll perform a song accompanied by composer Marc Shaiman, of “Hairspray” and “Mary Poppins Returns” fame. Her stage time is set for 11 p.m. Also scheduled to [...]

  • Magic Johnson, Larry Bird

    Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Robin Roberts Honored at 2019 NBA Awards

    The NBA went Hollywood on Monday night, mixing basketball legends with a star-studded list of presenters including Samuel L. Jackson, Tiffany Haddish and “This Is Us” star Justin Hartley at the 2019 NBA Awards. Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal hosted the third annual award show, which aired live on TNT, kicking things off with a surprise [...]

  • Naomi Watts and Gretchen Carlson'The Loudest

    ‘The Loudest Voice’ Stars Naomi Watts, Russell Crowe Talk Roger Ailes

    Roger Ailes may have been the force behind the creation of Fox News, but the late newsman’s legacy will forever be his atrocious sexual harassment of several of the network’s female anchors and producers. Showtime premiered its new limited series “The Loudest Voice,” which chronicles Ailes’ rise and fall, on Monday night at the Paris [...]

  • Billy Eichner Power of Pride Variety

    Billy Eichner on Taylor Swift's 'Calm Down' Backlash

    When Taylor Swift released her “You Need to Calm Down” music video, it seemed like every member of the LGBTQ in Hollywood was included — except for Billy Eichner. “I’m still not gay enough for Taylor Swift — or too gay — I don’t know what it is,” Eichner joked at Variety’s Power of Pride [...]

  • Bebe Rexha

    Mumford and Sons, Sting, Ciara, Bebe Rexha Light Up Cannes Lions

    There was no shortage of excellent music at the 2019 edition of Cannes Lion. The international gathering of creatives drew top music brands – among them: Spotify, Live Nation, iHeartRadio, SiriusXM/Pandora, VEVO and Universal Music Group – and a slew of well-known acts to stages across the Croissette, to villas above the city and onto [...]

  • Patrick Wilson

    Patrick Wilson, Mckenna Grace on Scary Stories From 'Annabelle Comes Home' Set

    Tales of spooky occurrences on the sets of horror movies like “The Exorcist” and “Poltergeist” have circulated for years, and it looks like “The Conjuring” franchise is following in their footsteps in that regard. The cast of “Annabelle Comes Home” shared their unnerving stories from set at the film’s premiere on Thursday night at the Regency [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content