June 19, 2019

5 Things to Know About Ella Fitzgerald

April 25th marks the would-be 98th birthday of legend, Ella Fitzgerald.  In honor of this jazz great, we are sharing 5 things to know about Ella Fitzgerald!

Ella Fitzgerald Enjoy CT Live

Some kids in Italy call me ‘Mama Jazz; I thought that was so cute. As long as they don’t call me “Grandma Jazz.”-Ella Fitzgerald

1)  Ella Fitzgerald entered the Apollo’s Amateur Night as a dancer, but chickened out and sang instead.  Ella had gained the opportunity by having her name pulled in a weekly drawing.

Amateur Night The Apollo

The Apollo’s marquee advertises Amateur Night

2)  The First Lady of Song starred as a guest on many television shows, but only appears in four films.  Ride Em’ Cowboy was Ella’s first ever role in a feature motion picture; Pete Kelly’s Blues, St. Louis Blues and Let No Man Write My Epitaph were the three other films.

Ella Fitzgerald Ride Em Cowboy

3)  During Ella Fitzgerald’s lifetime, she won 13 Grammy awards and sold over 40 million albums.

4)  Marilyn Monroe was a fan of Ella Fitzgerald.

“I owe Marilyn Monroe a real debt,” Ella later said. “It was because of her that I played the Mocambo, a very popular nightclub in the ’50s. She personally called the owner of the Mocambo, and told him she wanted me booked immediately, and if he would do it, she would take a front table every night. She told him – and it was true, due to Marilyn’s superstar status – that the press would go wild. The owner said yes, and Marilyn was there, front table, every night. The press went overboard. After that, I never had to play a small jazz club again. She was an unusual woman – a little ahead of her times. And she didn’t know it.”

Ella Fitzgerald Marilyn Monroe

Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe

5)  From sultry ballads to sweet jazz tunes, Ella was a talented vocalist who could imitate every instrument in an orchestra!  Fitzgerald worked with artists such as Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Dizzie Gillespie and more.

For more information on Ella Fitzgerald, visit her official website here.