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Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer (2007)

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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 181 users   Metascore: 76/100
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A tribute to jazz diva Anita O'Day, completed just weeks before her death in November 2006.

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Title: Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer (2007)

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Credited cast:
Anita O'Day ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Himself (archive footage)
Himself (archive footage)
Leonard Feather ...
Will Friedwald ...
Johnny Mandel ...
John Poole ...
Himself (archive footage)
George Wein ...
Gerald Wilson ...


A documentary look at the improvised life of Anita O'Day (1919-2006), singer and stylist whose timing, phrasing, interpretations, and unique sound put her among the finest vocalists of jazz. Interviews with her late in life are interspersed with archival footage of performances and old interviews as well as with comments by friends, arrangers, critics, and other musicians. She talks about singing without a uvula (sing eighth notes), of jail time for a marijuana arrest, of taking and kicking heroin, of finally making money after appearing at the Newport Jazz Festival, of loss, of a broken arm that almost cost her life, and of living in 4/4 time, one day at a time, smiling. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

jazz | singing | singer | heroin | broken arm | See more »


Documentary | Music



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Release Date:

30 April 2007 (USA)  »

Box Office


$200,000 (estimated)

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Did You Know?


First-ever feature documentary on the life of legendary jazz vocalist Anita O'Day. See more »


In one of the interview clips, Anita O'Day says that composer-arranger Gary McFarland died soon after the release of the album they made together, "All the Sad Young Men." McFarland actually lived another 10 years after the 1961 release of his record with O'Day, and died on November 2, 1971. See more »


Features Jazz on a Summer's Day (1959) See more »

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User Reviews

100 % on rotten tomatoes for 2 years!
11 December 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Hi, I learned so much about Anita that is not available anywhere else. I disagree with the comment prior to mine. I saw this film at the Tribeca Festival and then again when it opened Aug 08. This film is truly one of the best docs I have ever seen. It is fantastic and opened my eyes and ears to one of this country's national treasures. I have not seen any other footage of Anita before I saw this. I have looked and could not find anything out on her. Except the 30 seconds clips on her web page. This docs shows her in all of her incredible splendor and humor. She is feisty and honest and just plain cool. So Rotten Tomatoes gives her 100% since the Tribeca opening, pretty impressive and finally a film that really matches the critical acclaim.

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