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Ella Fitzgerald Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (18) | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 25 April 1917Newport News, Virginia, USA
Date of Death 15 June 1996Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA  (diabetes)
Birth NameElla Jane Fitzgerald
Nicknames First Lady Of Song
The First Lady of Jazz

Mini Bio (1)

On Saturday, June 15th, 1996, an era in jazz singing came to an end, with the death of Ella Fitzgerald at her home in California. She was the last of four great female jazz singers (including Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, and Carmen McRae) who defined one of the most prolific eras in jazz vocal style. Ella had extraordinary vocal skills from the time she was a teenager, and joined the Chick Webb Orchestra in 1935 when she was 16 years old. With an output of more than 200 albums, she was at her sophisticated best with the songs of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, of George Gershwin, and of Cole Porter. Her 13 Grammy awards are more than any other jazz performer, and she won the Best Female Vocalist award three years in a row. Completely at home with up-tempo songs, her scat singing placed her jazz vocals with the finest jazz instrumentalists, and it was this magnificent voice that she brought to her film appearances. Her last few years, during which she had a bout with congestive heart failure and suffered bilateral amputation of her legs from complications of diabetes, were spent in seclusion.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Bruce Cameron <dumarest@midcoast.com>

Spouse (2)

Ray Brown (10 December 1947 - 28 August 1953) (divorced) (1 child)
Benjamin Kornegay (26 December 1941 - 1943) (annulled)

Trivia (18)

Had a heart attack in August 1986, followed by a 5 way bypass operation.
She was a victim in an early attempt to integrate the classical music audience in Houston, Texas. In 1955 she, Dizzy Gillespie, and Illinois Jacquet were arrested by the vice squad before a Jazz at the Philharmonic concert at Music Hall, charged with gambling backstage. They were released in time to perform, on payment of a $50 bail. Promoter Norman Granz, also arrested, indicated that the raid was a set-up in response to his insistence that the concert not be segregated.
Entombed at Inglewood Park Cemetery, Inglewood, California - Sunset Memorial Garden Mausoleum, Second Floor, Sanctuary of the Bells, Crypt 1063
Charter inductee of the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame in 1978.
Inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1995.
Ella joined ASCAP in 1940, and her chief musical collaborators included Chick Webb, Lupin Fien and Josef Myrow. Her popular-song compositions include "A-Tisket, A-Tasket", "You Showed Me the Way", "Spinnin' the Web", "I Found My Yellow basket", "Chew, Chew, Chew", "Please Tell the Truth", "Oh! But I Do", and "Just One of Those Nights".
Ranked #13 on VH1's 100 Greatest Women of Rock N Roll
She has an adopted son, Ray Brown Jr.
Her first marriage on December 26, 1941 - to Harlem hustler Ben Kornegay - was quickly annulled at the advice of her agent and concerned friends. In later years she denied having been married to Kornegay.
Her adopted son, Ray Brown Jr., was in fact her nephew, the child of her younger half-sister Frances.
Biography in: "American National Biography". Supplement 1, pp. 208-210. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
She was awarded the American National Medal of the Arts in 1987 by the National Endowment of the Arts in Washington D.C.
Pictured on a 39¢ USA commemorative postage stamp in the Black Heritage series, issued 10 January 2007.
Was an honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
She was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 6738 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
First artist to chart in the UK with a cover of the John Lennon / Paul McCartney song, "Can't Buy Me Love" (1964). George Martin, The Beatles' long-time producer, said that it was one of his favorites of all the songs he produced.
Was a close friend of Marilyn Monroe, who helped Fitzgerald in her musical career by arranging for her to sing in upscale nightclubs that were segregated at the time of their friendship.
Her recordings of "Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall" and "Stone Cold Dead in the Market" were featured in the video game L.A. Noire (2011).

Personal Quotes (2)

I sing with my eyes closed, and my whole mind is concentrated on what I want to do. Any little noise can throw me.
[To music conductor André Previn, who she had been encouraging to relax, when he mentioned that her cue was about to come up] Honey, get the hell back in that pit!

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