ELLA JANE FITZGERALD (1917-1994

)
Ella Jane Fitzgerald was an American jazz vocalist also known as "First Lady of
Song," the "Queen of Jazz" and "Lady
Ella", noted for her purity of tone, impeccable diction, phrasing and intonatio
n. She was born on April 25 1917 in
Newport News, Virginia, and her parents split up a year after her birth, being u
nmarried.Then she moved to New
York with her mother and the Portuguese man her mom dated, Joseph da Silva and s
oon she had anotehr sister,
Frances.In 1932, her mother died of a heart attack. Then, her grades started to
drop dramatically and she often
skipped school. Being abused by his step-father she ran away from home and moved
with an aunt, but when she
was caught by the police working as a lookout at a bordello, she was taken to th
e orphanage.Eventually she escaped
and became homeless for a time.Fitzgerald made her singing debut at age 17 at th
e Apollo Theater in Harlem, New
York.That unexpected performance at the Apollo helped Ella start his career. Sh
e soon met bandleader and
drummer Chick Webb and eventually joined his group as a singer.Following Webb's
death in 1939, Ella became the
leader of the band, which was renamed Ella Fitzgerald and her Famous Orchestra.
In 1942, Fitzgerald left the band
to begin a solo career.Over the years she produced great recordings with artist
s like Louis Armstrong, Count Basie
and Frank Sinatra.She remained in history as being the first African American si
nger who actually won two
Grammy Awards: for best jazz performance and best female vocal performance.Some
of her best-known songs
include:SUMMERTIME, CRY ME A RIVER, DREAM A LITTLE DREAM OF ME, THE MAN I LOVE.B
y the 1980s,
Fitzgerald had begun to experience serious health problems. She had heart surger
y in 1986, and then discovered
she had diabetes. The disease left her blind, and she had both legs amputated i
n 1994.Ella Fitzgerald died on
June 15, 1996, at her home in Beverly Hills.