IMDb > Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer (2007)
Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer
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Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer (2007) More at IMDbPro »

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Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer -- Clip: Travelin' light
Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer -- Clip: Let's fall in love
Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer -- Clip: Sweet Georgia Brown
Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer -- Clip: Let me off uptown


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A tribute to jazz diva Anita O'Day, completed just weeks before her death in November 2006. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
2 wins & 1 nomination See more »
DVD Playhouse--July 2009
 (From The Hollywood Interview. 14 July 2009, 12:00 PM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Amazing movie, but Anita wasn't the only great white jazz singer See more (9 total) »



Louis Armstrong ... Himself (archive footage)

Buddy Bregman ... Himself

Dick Cavett ... Himself (archive footage)
Leonard Feather ... Himself
Will Friedwald ... Himself
Johnny Mandel ... Himself

John Cameron Mitchell ... Himself
Anita O'Day ... Herself
John Poole ... Himself (archive footage)

Annie Ross ... Herself
George Wein ... Himself

Margaret Whiting ... Herself
Gerald Wilson ... Himself

Directed by
Robbie Cavolina 
Ian McCrudden 
Writing credits
Robbie Cavolina  and
Ian McCrudden 

Produced by
Robbie Cavolina .... producer
Melissa Davis .... producer
Ian McCrudden .... producer
Nancy Fields O'Connor .... executive producer
Film Editing by
Robbie Cavolina 
Ian McCrudden 
Art Direction by
Robbie Cavolina 
Editorial Department
Jason Fabbro .... digital intermediate colorist
Marc Jozefowicz .... assistant editor
Gene Mendoza .... color timer
Other crew
Alan Eichler .... film footage
Sara Monacelli .... sales promotion manager

Production Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
USA:90 min

Did You Know?

The clips of Anita O'Day performing as a band singer for Gene Krupa and Stan Kenton come from "Soundies", three-minute music videos filmed during the 1940's for playback on a "Panoram", a video jukebox that projected the film onto a window-like screen. Many top musicians of the period, including Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and Liberace (who made his film debut on one) made "Soundies".See more »
Factual errors: 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 »
Movie Connections:
Features Jazz on a Summer's Day (1959)See more »


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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful.
Amazing movie, but Anita wasn't the only great white jazz singer, 5 January 2009
Author: mgconlan-1 from United States

This is a marvelous film, a worthy tribute to one of the giants of jazz. I was a bit worried at the gimmicky opening -- in which a clip of Anita O'Day was subjected to bizarre color patterns, mirror images and re-editing -- but as the film went on it settled into a conventional but appealing music-documentary groove with O'Day's interviews (some archival, some done especially for this film) providing commentary and context to her career. Filmmakers Robbie Cavolina and Ian McCrudden deserve credit for presenting O'Day's performances, if not as complete songs start-to-finish, at least in long enough clips so you could appreciate her (all too many music documentarians just give us a few seconds here and there, or have people talking over the clips). Though this film is aimed mostly at O'Day's fans, "newbies" can watch it and at least get an idea of what made her so great.

One aspect of the film that fascinated me was O'Day's comment that in order to be a great jazz musician you had to live the "jazz life." I can think of quite a few people on her level of talent -- Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie -- who had long and prosperous careers by avoiding substance abuse and the other pitfalls of the so-called "jazz life." The only part of the movie that really rubbed me the wrong way, though, was the interview clip with the late Leonard Feather (with which the filmmakers seemed to agree) in which he said that O'Day was the only white woman jazz singer he regarded as the artistic equal of Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald or Sarah Vaughan. What about June Christy, Chris Connor, Peggy Lee or -- in the generation just before O'Day's -- Mildred Bailey (an obvious influence on O'Day's style) and the Boswell Sisters?

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