West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Volume 77, Number 22 | Oct. 31 - Nov. 06, 2007

Obituaries

Delores Birdex, 77, artist and kids clothing designer

By Albert Amateau

Delores Birdex, an artist and clothing designer who lived in the Village as a young woman when she studied at the Art Students League, died Oct. 20 at the age of 77 in North Haven, Conn., where she lived for the past several years.

Born in Harlem on Sept. 11, 1930, the daughter of Anita Birdex and Daniel C. Birdex, she grew up in Hell’s Kitchen and as a young adult lived in the Village at 123 W. Third St., said her daughter, Cecilia Birdex.

As a child she spent time in New Orleans, the hometown of her mother and maternal grandmother, who was a Blackfoot Indian, and her father, a Creole who was a professional boxer who fought under the name of Danny Daniels.

“My mother made fascinating acquaintances as a young teen in Hell’s Kitchen; she knew John Cassavetes [the late actor and film director] and went to shows at the Paramount, where she heard Frank Sinatra and collected his autograph when he was a teen idol,” said her daughter.

Delores (she was known as Dee Dee) was a talented graphic artist, and as a young adult won an award that enabled her to study with the social realist painter Reginald Marsh at the Art Students League, her daughter said.

At that time she moved to the Village, where she and her friends frequented jazz clubs and met musicians including Charlie Parker and Miles Davis, whose autographs she cherished, her daughter said.

“She always said that growing up in the ’40s and ’50s was a time you had to be aware and involved in civil rights,” her daughter said.
Birdex left the Village in the mid-1950s, and lived at various places on the West Side.

“When we lived at 524 W. 46th St., Alvin Ailey [the late modern dancer, choreographer and founder of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater] lived upstairs,” her daughter recalled.

Birdex became a designer of children’s clothes and in the 1970s traveled with her daughter on the flea market circuit selling her line of children’s togs. She moved to Connecticut 25 years ago where she opened a children’s clothing boutique.

A memorial event with an exhibition of her artwork was held Fri., Oct. 26, at Greenwich Village Funeral Home.


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