Charles Bentley Rotton, Jr., more commonly known by his professional name Bentley Roton, was born on Christmas morning 1937, in Birmingham, Alabama. He was a child in Palmerdale, a small farm community northeast of Birmingham, as the Great Depression was folding into the Second World War. He wore overalls and went to school barefooted, had rabbits and ducks as his cherished pets and raised turkeys for his 4-H project.
Throughout his youth Bentley was a principal dancer at the Alabama Theater and with the Birmingham Civic Ballet. He was a singer and dancer in the original Broadway productions of My Fair Lady and Bobby Fosse’s revival of Pal Joey. After the shows closed he toured nationally with Edie Adams, Betty Grable, and Jimmy Durante in their lavish night club acts and toured internationally with his dance partner Collen Cokre bringing classical ballet for the first time to the cruise ships of South America, the Caribbean and as far north as Yellowknife in the Yukon Territory of Canada. Throughout the 1960’s Bentley was a featured performer at The Latin Quarter in Miami and in NY City and appeared in many TV commercials and soap operas.
After his performance career Bentley became the Company and Tour Manager of the Paul Taylor Dance Company, American Ballet Theatre, and the Lúcnica Czechoslovakian Folk Dance Co. He was the U.S. State Department Cultural Liaison for Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee and the Cultural Liaison for Paul Taylor’s U.S. State Department tour of Iran, Turkey, England, Romania.
In 1980 he moved to Ulster County with his husband and built their first stained glass studio — the Cary-Roton Studio.
He is co-founder, and as President for 30 years of Kaatsbaan International Dance Center (Kaatsbaan Cultural Park) headed the development and building of the project.
Bentley passed peacefully on May 2, at his home on Spencer Road in Glenford from complications due to Alzheimer’s. His husband of 53 years, Gregory Cary, was at his side. Bentley was a beautiful man and a talented, giving performer and artist. He was always fair and was extraordinarily gentle.