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Ethel Waters (1896–1977)

The child of a teenage rape victim, Ethel Waters grew up in the slums of Philadelphia and neighboring cities, seldom living anywhere for more than a few weeks at a time. "No one raised me, " she recollected, "I just ran wild." She excelled not only at looking after herself, but also at singing and dancing; she began performing at church functions, ... See full bio »

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

Known For


Hide Hide Show Show Actress (28 credits)
 1972 Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law (TV Series)
Aunt Harriet
- Run, Carol, Run (1972) ... Aunt Harriet
 1970 Daniel Boone (TV Series)
- Mamma Cooper (1970) ... Rachael
 1967 Vacation Playhouse (TV Series)
- You're Only Young Twice (1967) ... Carrie
 1963 The Great Adventure (TV Series)
- Go Down, Moses (1963) ... Rit
 1961 Route 66 (TV Series)
Jennie Henderson
- Goodnight Sweet Blues (1961) ... Jennie Henderson
 1959 Whirlybirds (TV Series)
- The Big Lie (1959) ... Sarah
 1958 The Heart Is a Rebel
 1957 Carib Gold
 1957 Matinee Theatre (TV Series)
- Sing for Me (1957)
 1956 Saturday Spectacular: Manhattan Tower (TV Movie)
Sunday School Teacher
 1955 Playwrights '56 (TV Series)
 1955 General Electric Theater (TV Series)
- Winner by Decision (1955) ... Mother
 1955 Climax! (TV Series)
Aunt Kate
- The Dance (1955) ... Aunt Kate
 1955 Your Play Time (TV Series)
- Speaking to Hannah (1955) ... Hannah
 1954 Encounter (TV Series)
- The Grass Harp (1954)
 1952 The Jackie Gleason Show (TV Series)
Guest Jazz Vocalist
- Pickles (1952) ... Guest Jazz Vocalist
- The Cold (1952) ... Guest Jazz Vocalist
 1943 Stage Door Canteen
Ethel Waters
 1942 Cairo
Cleona Jones
 1942 Tales of Manhattan
 1934 Bubbling Over (Short)
Ethel Peabody
 1933 Change Your Luck (Short)
 1933 Rufus Jones for President (Short)
Mother of Rufus Jones
 1929 On with the Show!
Show Show Soundtrack (38 credits)
Show Show Self (35 credits)
Show Show Archive footage (23 credits)

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Personal Details

Other Works:

Stage: Appeared (as "Ella", "Josephine Baker") in "As Thousands Cheer" on Broadway. Musical revue. Music / lyrics by Irving Berlin. Book by Moss Hart. Musical Director: Frank Tours. Music orchestrated by Adolph Deutsch, Frank Tours, Ed Powell, Russell Wooding and Helmy Kresa. Choreographed by Charles Weidman. Press Representative: ... See more »

Publicity Listings:

7 Print Biographies | See more »

Did You Know?

Personal Quote:

I just let singing out the way it comes to me. Once the orchestra gets used to letting themselves go, everything works out fine. The song is really the main thing, the song and the way you sing it. See more »


Won a Joseph Jefferson Award as Best Guest Artist in a Locally Produced Play in 1970 for her performance in "The Member of the Wedding" at the Ivanhoe Theatre in Chicago. The award was presented to her by Cyd Charisse. See more »


Sweet Mama Stringbean

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