Born Sophie Feldman, Totie Fields was a New York-accented
yenta doing self-deflating fat jokes amid her extroverted kvetching. In
1963, when Totie began performing in the Catskills, women weren't necessarily
expected to offer their opinions or ideas. Totie did, though, treating
the crowd like friends and blowing up stories about everyday events to
comic proportions. She was a regular on The Ed Sullivan Show in the '70s,
and she was making a big impression on future comics. There was no way
to not pay attention to Totie Fields. Totie was diabetic, and in the late
'70s, her health began to fail. In 1976, her leg had to be amputated because
of phlebitis. After being fitted with an artificial leg, she returned
to work saying, "I don't want anyone feeling sorry for me."
Two years later, though, she died, inspirational, outrageous, and funny
to the end.
Material excerpted from: Totie Fields Live; Mainstream
Records Inc., S/6123 (no date given). Produced by Bob Shad for TOGE PRODUCTIONS,