|Birth Day:||March 25, 1940|
|Birth Place:||Barnsdall, United States|
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
In 1958, she became Miss Oklahoma before pursuing her political agenda and music career.
Bryant became Miss Oklahoma in 1958 and was second runner-up in the 1959 Miss America pageant (held September 6, 1958) at age 18, right after graduating from Tulsa's Will Rogers High School.
Bryant released several albums on the Carlton and Columbia labels. Her first album, eponymously titled and released in 1959, contained "Till There Was You" and other songs from other Broadway shows. Her second album, Hear Anita Bryant in Your Home Tonight (1961), contains "Paper Roses" and "Wonderland by Night", as well as several songs that first appeared in her singles. Her third album, In My Little Corner of the World, also in 1961, contains the title song and other songs that have to do with places around the world, including "Canadian Sunset" and "I Love Paris". Bryant's compilation album, Greatest Hits (1963), contains both her original Carlton hits (because Columbia purchased all the masters from Carlton) plus sides from her Columbia recordings, including "Paper Roses" and "Step by Step, Little by Little." In 1964 she released The World of Lonely People, containing, in addition to the title song, "Welcome, Welcome Home" and a new rendition of "Little Things Mean a Lot", arranged by Frank Hunter. Bryant also released several albums of religious music.
In 1960, Bryant married Bob Green (1931–2012), a Miami disc jockey, with whom she eventually raised four children: Robert Jr. (Bobby), Gloria, and twins Billy and Barbara. She divorced him in 1980, drawing criticism of hypocrisy from the Christian right regarding the indissolubility of Christian marriage which Bryant had championed and "the deterioration of the family" against which she had preached. She appeared early in her career on the NBC interview program Here's Hollywood and on the same network's The Ford Show Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford.
From 1961 until 1968, Bryant frequently joined Bob Hope on holiday tours for the United Service Organizations. She again traveled with Hope for televised shows during the Vietnam War. Bryant was given the Silver Medallion Award from the National Guard for "outstanding service by an entertainer," and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Leadership Gold Medallion.
In 1969, Bryant became a spokeswoman for the Florida Citrus Commission, and nationally televised commercials featured her singing "Come to the Florida Sunshine Tree" and stating the commercials' tagline: "Breakfast without orange juice is like a day without sunshine." (Later, the slogan became, "It isn't just for breakfast anymore!") In addition, during this time, she also appeared in advertisements for Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods, Holiday Inn, and Tupperware. In the 1970s, Bryant was teamed up with the Disney Character "Orange Bird," with whom she appeared in several orange juice commercials. She also sang the Orange Bird Song and narrated the Orange Bird record album, with music written by the Sherman Brothers.
Bryant performed the National Anthem at Super Bowl III in 1969. Bryant sang "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" during the halftime show of Super Bowl V in 1971 and at the graveside services for President of the United States Lyndon B. Johnson in 1973.
On March 23, 1969, Bryant participated in a Rally for Decency at the Orange Bowl to protest the controversial onstage behavior of Jim Morrison of The Doors.
In 1977, Dade County, Florida, passed an ordinance sponsored by Bryant's former friend Ruth Shack that prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Bryant led a highly publicized campaign to repeal the ordinance, as the leader of a coalition named Save Our Children. The campaign was based on conservative Christian beliefs regarding the sinfulness of homosexuality and the perceived threat of homosexual recruitment of children and child molestation. Bryant stated:
On June 7, 1977, Bryant's campaign led to a repeal of the anti-discrimination ordinance by a margin of 69 to 31 percent. However, the success of Bryant's campaign galvanized her opponents, and the gay community retaliated against her by organizing a boycott of orange juice. Gay bars all over North America stopped serving screwdrivers and replaced them with the "Anita Bryant Cocktail", which was made with vodka and apple juice. Sales and proceeds went to gay rights activists to help fund their fight against Bryant and her campaign.
In 1977, Florida legislators approved a measure prohibiting gay adoption. The ban was overturned more than 30 years later when, on November 25, 2008, Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Cindy S. Lederman declared it unconstitutional.
Bryant became one of the first persons to be publicly "pied" as a political act. During a television appearance in Iowa on October 14, 1977, Bryant was struck by a pie by Thom L. Higgins (1950–1994). Bryant quipped "At least it's a fruit pie," making a pun on the derogatory term of "fruit" for a gay man. While covered in pie, she began to pray to God to forgive the activist "for his deviant lifestyle" before bursting into tears as the cameras continued rolling. Bryant's husband said that he would not retaliate, but followed the protesters outside and threw a pie at them. By this time, gay activists ensured that the boycott on Florida orange juice had become more prominent and it was supported by many celebrities, including Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, Paul Williams, Dick Clark, Vincent Price (he joked in a television interview that Oscar Wilde's A Woman of No Importance referred to her), John Waters, Carroll O'Connor, Linda Lavin, Mary Tyler Moore, Charles Schulz, Billie Jean King, and Jane Fonda. Johnny Carson also made Bryant a regular target of ridicule in his nightly monologues. In 1978, Bryant and Bob Green told the story of their campaign in the book At Any Cost. The gay community continued to regard Bryant's name as synonymous with bigotry and homophobia.
The fallout from Bryant's political activism hurt her business and entertainment career. In February 1977, the Singer Corporation rescinded an offer to sponsor a possible weekly variety show because of the "extensive national publicity arising from [Bryant's] controversial political activities."
In 1977, the Dutch levenslied singer Zangeres Zonder Naam wrote the protest song "Luister eens, Anita" (Listen Up, Anita) on the occasion of the protest night "Miami Nightmare", organized in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. The nightly concert was intended to raise funds for an advertisement in Time, in which the Dutch nation was to call on the American people to protect the rights of minorities. In the song, Zangeres Zonder Naam compared Anita Bryant to Hitler and called on homosexuals to fight for their rights. The song became an integral part of her repertoire and cemented her status as a cult figure among Dutch homosexuals.
Bryant led several more campaigns around the country to repeal local anti-discrimination ordinances, including campaigns in St. Paul, Minnesota; Wichita, Kansas; and Eugene, Oregon. In 1978, her success led to the Briggs Initiative in California, which would have made pro-gay statements regarding homosexual people or homosexuality by any public school employee cause for dismissal. Grassroots liberal organizations, chiefly in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, organized to defeat the initiative. Days before the election, the California Democratic Party opposed the proposed legislation. President Jimmy Carter, Governor Jerry Brown, former president Gerald Ford, and former governor Ronald Reagan—then planning a run for the presidency—all voiced opposition to the initiative, and it ultimately suffered a massive defeat at the polls.
Bryant's name has frequently been invoked as a prototypical example of opposition to LGBT rights. When Elton John was criticized for touring Russia in 1979, he responded: "I wouldn't say I won't tour in America because I can't stand Anita Bryant". In his song "Mañana", Jimmy Buffett sings "I hope Anita Bryant never ever does one of my songs". In 1978, David Allan Coe recorded the song "Fuck Aneta Briant" [sic] on his album Nothing's Sacred.
Bryant hosted a two-hour television special, The Anita Bryant Spectacular, in March 1980. She recounted her autobiography, appeared in medleys of prerecorded songs, and interviewed Pat Boone. The West Point Glee Club and General William Westmoreland participated.
Bryant's marriage to Bob Green also failed at that time, and in 1980 she divorced him, citing emotional abuse and latent suicidal thoughts. Green refused to accept this, saying that his fundamentalist religious beliefs did not recognize civil divorce and that she was still his wife "in God's eyes". In 2007, Green stated: "Blame gay people? I do. Their stated goal was to put her out of business and destroy her career. And that's what they did. It's unfair."
With three of her four children, she moved from Miami to Selma, Alabama, and later to Atlanta, Georgia. In a 1980 Ladies' Home Journal article she said, "The church needs to wake up and find some way to cope with divorce and women's problems." She also expressed some sympathy for feminist aspirations, given her own experiences of emotional abuse within her previous marriage. Bryant also commented on her anti-gay views and said, "I'm more inclined to say live and let live, just don't flaunt it or try to legalize it." In a 2012 interview, her son Robert Green, Jr. said "she would be putting a lot more energy into fighting gay rights if she still felt as strongly."
Armistead Maupin, in his 1980 novel More Tales of the City, used Anita Bryant's "Save Our Children" campaign to prompt a principal character to come out of the closet.
Bryant married her second husband, Charlie Hobson Dry, in 1990. The couple tried to reestablish her music career in a series of small venues, including Branson, Missouri, and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, where they opened Anita Bryant's Music Mansion. The establishment combined Bryant's performances of her successful songs from early in her career with a "lengthy segment in which she preached her Christian beliefs". The venture was not successful and the Music Mansion, which had missed meeting payrolls at times, filed for bankruptcy in 2001 with Bryant and Dry leaving behind a series of unpaid employees and creditors.
Bryant also spent part of the 1990s in Branson, Missouri, where the state and federal governments both filed liens claiming more than $116,000 in unpaid taxes. Bryant and Dry had also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Arkansas in 1997 after piling up bills from a failed Anita Bryant show in Eureka Springs, a tourist area in northwest Arkansas; among the debts were more than $172,000 (equivalent to about $274,000 in 2019) in unpaid state and federal taxes.
In 1998, Dade County repudiated Bryant's successful campaign of 20 years earlier and reauthorized an anti-discrimination ordinance protecting individuals from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation by a seven-to-six vote. In 2002, a ballot initiative to repeal the 1998 law, called Amendment 14, was voted down by 56 percent of the voters. The Florida statute forbidding gay adoption was upheld in 2004 by a federal appellate court against a constitutional challenge but was overturned by a Miami-Dade circuit court in November 2008.
In 2005, Bryant returned to Barnsdall, Oklahoma, to attend the town's 100th anniversary celebration and to have a street renamed in her honor. She returned to her high school in Tulsa on April 21, 2007, to perform in the school's annual musical revue. As of 2008, she was living in Edmond, Oklahoma, and said she was doing charity work for various youth organizations while heading Anita Bryant Ministries International.
Bryant appears in archive footage as a principal antagonist in the 2008 American biographical film Milk, about the life of gay rights activist and politician Harvey Milk. She was also portrayed as the principal antagonist in the 2011 play, Anita Bryant Died For Your Sins.
In May 2013, producers announced plans for a biographical HBO film based on Bryant's life to star Uma Thurman, with a script from gay screenwriter Chad Hodge.
Bryant's likeness is portrayed by a drag performer in the comedic play, Anita Bryant's Playboy Interview, which premiered in 2016 in Silver Lake, Los Angeles and is based on her 1978 Playboy interview with Ken Kelley. Bryant is a frequently portrayed character at drag shows across the United States.
Currently, Anita Bryant is 82 years, 3 months and 1 days old. Anita Bryant will celebrate 83rd birthday on a Saturday 25th of March 2023.
Find out about Anita Bryant birthday activities in timeline view here.