Music: A Secret Song

A Secret Song

Jazz musician Billy Tipton never gave his Social Security number to his booking agent. He never went swimming with his three adopted sons. Though he became seriously ill, he never visited a doctor. Last week, four days after Tipton, 74, died from a bleeding ulcer in Spokane, a funeral director told one of the musician's sons the reason for his odd behavior: Tipton was a woman.

A gifted pianist and saxophonist, Tipton apparently began his sexual masquerade during the Big Band era of the 1930s, when women sang but were seldom allowed to play instruments. "He gave up everything," said Kitty...

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