Queen Latifah: Pearl Bailey won’t you please come home?
BY DENNIS KING
NEW YORK – Whenever Queen Latifah does press interviews, she said, someone always asks her about starring in a biography of the iconic singer and actress Pearl Bailey.
Latifah is said to bear a striking physical resemblance to the larger-than-life Bailey, who died in 1990, and there are uncanny similarities in the trajectories of the two women’s careers.
“When there’s a decent script, I’ll do it in a minute,” Latifah said during a press day for her new film, “Just Wright.” “But there hasn’t been a script yet. Just lots of talk and speculation. Even my father, he says he’s going to wring my neck if I don’t get after that. There’s no book, nothing to option, but there are more than a few tantalizing stories out there about Pearly Mae that could be told.”
Bailey, like Latifah, began her career in music and later moved on to success as an actress on stage, film and TV. She won a Tony Award for the title role in an all-black Broadway production of “Hello, Dolly” in 1968.
Latifah said she’s admired Bailey all her life and considers her a positive role model. A film biography of her life and times is long overdue.
“That could be one of those movies that could change a career,” she said. “Every time I’m asked about her, I’m reminded of a time when I saw a picture in a book and I thought it was me but it was actually Pearl, with a skinnier waist. I mean, in some ways we look identical.”
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