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Queen of Jazz or First Lady of Song; whatever you choose to call her, Ella Fitzgerald was one of the most eminent jazz singers of all time.
During an amateur night at Apollo Theater in 1934, a 17-year old Ella was named winner after she had changed her mind from dancing to singing at the last minute.
In 1935, she joined Chick Webb Orchestra and became incredibly successful after she sang her own version of A-Tisket, A-Tasket nursery rhyme.
Best Known For
She was a 13-time Grammy Award winner for her work in over 200 albums which includes songs like Cheek To Cheek, It Don’t Mean A Things and Dream A Little Dream Of Me.
Of her very many other endeavors, she also had a memorable time on screen as Maggie Jackson in the 1955 film, Pete Kelly’s Blues.
Ella was straight. Her first marriage was in 1942 to Benjamin Kornegay but the union was canceled the following year. She was also married to Ray Brown in 1947 but they divorced in 1953.
There are rumors that in 1957, she even married Thor Larsen.
She was the daughter of William Fitzgerald and Temperance Henry but had Frances Da Silva as a half-sister through her stepdad, Joseph Da Silva.
She was the mother of Ray Brown Jr., a child she had adopted from Frances.
Ella lived and died in her faith as a Methodist.
Worth To Know
She died of stroke in 1996. She had previously suffered diabetes in the 80s and had her legs surgically severed in 1993.
Some of her most prestigious accolades include the Presidential Medal Of Freedom and National Medal of Arts.
She was a close friend of Billie Holiday and Marilyn Monroe.