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Biography

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Overview (2)

Born in Brooklyn, New York, USA
Died in Englewood, New Jersey, USA

Mini Bio (1)

Truly a Renaissance man, Emett Babe Wallace, born 1909 in Brooklyn, N.Y., is the epitome of a "show-biz" person.

After becoming a bouncer for Harlem's Savoy Ballroom at age 19, he went on to eventually perform as a singer there. He also performed in the most noted venues worldwide; including Small's Paradise, The Apollo Theater and The Cotton Club. Around 1940, he fronted Ella Fitzgerald's band and in 1956, went on to reside in Israel, where he became a popular recording artist for the Blue Jazz record label, singing in English and Yiddish. From there he took Europe by storm performing in Spain, France, Germany and Holland, sharing the stage with the likes of Louis Armstrong, Lionel Hampton, Della Reese, Johnny Otis and Cab Calloway to name a few.

As an actor, Babe is among the early pioneers of Black Cinema, starring in numerous films alongside some of the finest names in the industry. His career took flight, when in 1943 he co-starred in the 20th Century Fox classic "Stormy Weather", with Lena Horne and Bill Robinson. He went on to perform in stage musicals such as "Anna Lucasta " in London during 1947, " Les Folies Bergere " in Paris during 1952 (appearing as the first Black male star), and "Guys and Dolls" on Broadway during 1976, with Robert Guillaume and James Randolph. In 1989, he was presented the prestigious Paul Robeson Award by the Black American Cinema Society, along with Marla Gibbs.

Babe is a prolific songwriter, poet and novelist, who has some of his works included in the Schomburg Research Center for Black Culture. Of his thousands of songs, some have been recorded by Benny Goodman, Ella Fitzgerald and Cab Calloway. In 1999, Burger King franchise featured one of his songs "A Chicken Ain't Nothin But A Bird" in their TV/radio ad campaign.

Today, in his 90s, Babe resides at the famed Actors Fund Retirement Home in New Jersey, where he is far from retiring. He spends his days writing songs, poetry and stories, leaving his family a fine legacy in entertainment. His grandson, Jimy Bleu, currently administers this legacy and a documentary about Babe Wallace is in post-production.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jimy Bleu

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