44 X 32 INCHES

Etta Benjamin Cien


Etta Perkins was born July 11, 1924 in St. Louis, MO to Ida and Nat Perkins.

In 1943, Etta graduated from Senn High School. Two years later, she met her future husband, LeRoy Benjamin on a blind date. Etta and LeRoy were married in 1946.

Their lifelong adventure began with the creation of the nationally known "The LeRoy Brothers" marionette act during the vaudeville era (LeRoy and his marionettes, Etta, with the addition of Etta’s brother Earl Perkins). The LeRoy Brothers opened for Danny Thomas and such acts as Jimmy Durante, Louis Armstrong, etc. Danny Thomas always specifically requested that they opened for him stating that they "brought down the house." Etta's life blossomed with the birth of their beloved son, Gary, in 1953, and Hollywood would become the home of the Benjamin family.

In Hollywood, Etta's organizing and planning skills drove the success of their new business adventure "Hillside House of Originals" a framing store and art gallery. This adventure led to a wh line of their own artwork, created at their new art facility in Burbank along with Earl, Etta’s brother, with several major permanent showrooms nationwide such as the World Trade Center in Dallas and the Los Angeles Furniture Mart.

Several years later when the industry changed, they decided to keep up with the times and created The Burbank Media Center where they rented editing rooms to various movie editors then ultimately B.E.T (Black Entertainment Television).

After retirement, Etta continued to sing and entertain, even recording her own CD's! The early friendship with the Thomas family led to Etta's generous lifelong support of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.