Notes on Ella Fitzgerald

Looking back at one of the great performers of the 20th Century. Follow Travalanche for more posts about great performers from history.


Here’s a head-scratcher: I found this ad for an Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996) variety special from a TV Guide from the early ’70s, but can find no reference to the show online, including IMDB. There is a danger in relying completely on electronic archives; they are clearly incomplete. At any rate, her birthday affords an occasion for a few interesting factoids about the singer, who was still very much a presence in popular culture during the first 30 years of my life.

Fitzgerald was born in Virginia and raised in Yonkers, New York until the age of 15 when her mother died in a car accident. She went to live in Harlem with relatives and (though previously an excellent student) briefly ran with a criminal element, and was sent to reform school. Music was her path out. She was a fan of Earl “Snakehips” Tucker, Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong

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