Ella Fitzgerald biography

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by Haileyb20
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Ella Fitzgerald biography

Early Life Ella Jane Fitzgerald was born on April 25, 1917 in Newport News, Virginia. Growing up, she lived in poor Italian neighborhoods around New York. Her birthparents (William and Temperance Fitzgerald) were never married and she lived with her mom and stepdad (Joeseph Da Silva) for most of her childhood. As a kid, she got her inspiration from the records her mom would bring home. Ella and her mother were very close until her mothers death when she was just 15. After her mom's death was a very hard time in Ella's life, she started skipping school, her grades dropped dramatically, and her stepfather was abusing her. To escape from her home life she ran away and worked odd jobs until age 17 when she entered a contest to sing at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York. She won, of course, and started her career as a jazz singer. Career Ella Fitzgerald started her singing career at age 17, 1934 at the Apollo Theater, Harlem New York. While there, she attracted a weekly crowd, which helped her eventually be signed to a record label and make her first recording in 1936. Soon after the beginning of her career she met and befriended Chick Webb and joined his band. Soon after Ella Joined, Chick died and the band was renamed "Ella and Her Famous Band." During this time Ella was doing mostly bebop and scat singing. In 1941 Ella married Benny Kournegay, but the marriage was soon anulled after she found out that he was a convicted drug dealer. In 1947 Ella marred a second time, to Ray Brown, famous bass player. Ray and Ella were great friends, but after a long marriage and the adoption of Ray Brown Jr, they divorced in 1958. After the divorce they remained good friends and still preformed together often. Around this time Ella's jazzy sound was becoming increasingly popular, and she often preformed many shows a week, but because of her race and that it was the 1950's she was often discrinated against, her manager was very strict about the way people treated her and he always made sure that she was being treated fairly. Around 1955 Ella switched recored labels from Decca to Verve Records.During Ella's busy career she made over 200 records, covered many famous songs and changed the way that the world saw jazz music.Later Life It was around the 1970s that Ella's health started to fail her. In 1986, she was diagnosed with diabetes, had a heart valve replaced, and many other surgeries. After having these surgeries, there were many rumors saying that se would never preform ever again. But despite the warnings and rumors, Ella returned to the stage and her busy schedule. By the 1990s she had recorded over 200 albums. In 1991 Ella preformed her last concert at Carnegie Hall in New York. Soon after that, her diabetes worsed and because of that she had to have both of legs amputated below the knee. Ella sadly never recovered from these sugeries and spent the rest of her days in the backyard of her Beverly Hills home. "I just want to smell the air, listen to the birds and hear Alice laugh." said Ella. On June 15, 1996 Ella died at her Beverly Hills home in California. She had a private memorial and was buried at Inglewood Park Cemetary in California.


Ella Fitzgerald


Ella scat-singing

Life Summary

Ella Fitzgerald, Queen of Jazz, was one of the most influencial jazz singers of the 20th century. Ella first became famous around 1934, singing mostly bebop. For awhile she thought bebop was all she could sing, until she got signed to Decca labels, and started singing jazz. During her career she won many awards including; 13 Grammys, The National Medal of Arts, and The Presidential Medal of Freedom. She also made many tv show appearances, including some on The Bing Crosby Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, and The Dinah Shore Show. Ella was a huge inspiration to young girls and African Americans everywhere. Her jazzy sound and scat skills became instantly famous, there was no one else like her. Ella didnt only care about becoming famous, she also donated large amounts of money to organizations for disadvantaged children. Ella, The First Lady of Song, was a huge part of not only African American history but also the history of jazz music.

born; April 25, 1917died; June 15, 1996

Hailey Brink3/5/15per 1/2


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