One of many leopard boys employed by P.T. Barnum, A.E. Bishell (1869-1909), like most who bore the name, was an African American who had the condition called leucoderma, which produces a spotty, “piebald” bifurcation of skin coloring. After years of employ by Barnum, he worked the dime museum scene. He reportedly died at age 40 when he accidentally fell into an open trap door.
To learn about the history of vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.
And don’t miss my new book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc