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Famous Like Me > Singer > W > Ethel Waters

Profile of Ethel Waters on Famous Like Me

Name: Ethel Waters  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 1st September 1896
Place of Birth: Chester, Pennsylvania
Profession: Singer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
Ethel Waters, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1938

Ethel Waters (October 31, 1896 – September 1, 1977) was an African American blues vocalist who frequently performed jazz, big band, gospel, and popular music, on Broadway and off.

Waters was born in Chester, Pennsylvania, the daughter of a twelve-year old mother who had been raped, and was raised in a violent, impoverished Philadelphia ward.

Waters obtained her first Harlem club job around 1919 at Edmond's Cellar, a typical club of the period and area patroned by a black audience. Along with Fletcher Henderson and sponsored under Black Swan Records, she toured with the Black Swan Dance Masters. She stated that Henderson tended to perform in a more classical style than she would prefer, often lacking "the damn-it-to-hell bass". According to Waters, she influenced him to practice in a "real jazz" style. She was later recorded by Columbia Records in 1925; this recording was given a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1998. During the 1920s, she performed and/or was recorded with the ensembles of Will Marion Cook, Lovie Austin, Fletcher Henderson

As her career continued, she evolved toward being a pop and broadway singer performing with artists like Duke Ellington. She was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award in 1949 for the film "Pinky". In 1950, she won the New York Drama Critics Award. In the period before her death at age 80 in Los Angeles, California, she toured with the Rev. Billy Graham, despite the fact that she was a Catholic.

She was posthumously recognized in 1984 by the Gospel Music Association where her name was placed in its Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

Family ties

She is also the aunt of Dance artist Crystal Waters

Awards and recognitions

  • Academy Award, Best Supporting Actress nomination in 1949
  • Gospel Music Hall of Fame, 1984
  • Grammy Hall of Fame Award, 1998

She was also in Cabin in the Sky

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Ethel Waters