Etta Drucille Guyse (rhymes with “nice”), known as Sheila Guyse, (July 14, 1925 – December 28, 2013) was a popular African-American singer, actress, and recording artist, performing on stage and screen during the 1940s and 1950s, in the Dorothy Dandridge film era.She followed her father, Wilbert, to New York when she was a teenager and, her daughter said, lived for a time in a Harlem rooming house with Billie Holiday.
After winning an amateur contest at the Apollo Theater, Ms. Guyse had a small role on Broadway in the musical “Memphis Bound!” and had a sultry “girl-next-door” appeal which she showcased in films of the late 1940s: Boy! What a Girl! (1947), Sepia Cinderella (1947, co-starring with Billy Daniels), and Miracle In Harlem (1948) giving impressive performances in all of them. She also appeared in the “Harlem Follies of 1949” and in a 1957 television adaptation of the play The Green Pastures.
Become a Harlem insider - Sign-Up for our Weekly Newsletter!
Here she is singing in Sepia Cinderella:
Guyse was a natural talent. She appeared in many Broadway stage productions such as Lost in the Stars and Finian’s Rainbow. Her singing voice was said to be as beautiful as she was; divine, sweet, easy on the ears whether singing jazz, pop, or gospel.
Sheila Guyse covered Jet, Ebony, and Our World.
She died of Alzheimer’s disease on December 28, 2013 via source.