Dawn Langley Simmons

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Marriage of Dawn Langley and John-Paul Simmons
Newspaper coverage of Dawn Langley Simmons


Great Britain

Birth - Death

1937 - 2000




Prolific author and biographer, was born as Gordon Langley Hall to a couple which served as servants at Sissinghurst, the famed home of Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicholson. Lived her first ten years as a male. Subsequently underwent sex reassignment surgery in 1968 and changed her name to Dawn. Wed in the first legal interracial marriage in South Carolina.

Emigrated to Canada in 1943 and later became Editor of the newspaper The Winnipeg Free Press. Returned to Great Britain in 1947 and began her writing career. Biographical writer of notable women, including Jacqueline Kennedy and Princess Margaret. Throughout her lifetime, published 23 novels and biographies.

Met and lived with artist Isabel Whitney. Together, they purchased a home in South Carolina, but Whitney died two weeks later, leaving the home to Dawn.

After her surgery, became engaged to John-Paul Simmons, a black motor mechanic in Charleston, despite threats to their lives. Together, they had a daughter, Natasha Margienell Manigault Paul Simmons, but the couple divorced in 1982. Developed Parkinson`s Disease and passed away in 2000.

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