Courtesy: Carl Van Vechten Photographs collection at the US Library of Congress (1940)
the queen of jazz
Bing Crosby called her the greatest singer of all time, and one of her biggest fans was Marilyn Monroe. But in her youth - she was abused by her stepfather, became homeless, worked as a lookout for a prostitution house and survived the mean streets of New York by singing for pennies. It all changed in 1934 when 17 year old Ella Fitzgerald competed in a singing competition. She was an instant hit, and would live to become "The Queen of Jazz" (also nicknamed "The First Lady of Song") recording 2,000 songs over a career that spanned 60 years. Despite her enormous talent, she remained humble, adding to her appeal. In her later years, diabetes caused Ella to go blind and lose both legs. She passed in 1996 at age 79. You can hear the incredible voice of this jazz powerhouse right here on Jazz Diva Radio.