Profile of the Day: Ella Fitzgerald

Posted April 25, 2018 by Amanda | No Comment
Profile of the Day: Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Fitzgerald

On this day in 1917, American Jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald was born in Newport News, Virginia. One of the most beloved Jazz vocalist of all time, Fitzgerald had an extraordinary vocal range spanning three octaves.

Fitzgerald was born on April 25, 1917 to William Fitzgerald and Temperance Fitzgerald. From a young age, she was passionate about dancing and singing and spent hours listening to Jazz records her mother brought home. She suffered many hardships during her childhood, especially after the loss of her mother in 1932. Her grades fell and she skipped school. For a time, she even worked as a lookout for a brothel before the authorities caught up with her and placed her in a reform school. After her brief stint at the school, she spent some time homeless trying to make it on her own.

She got her big break at the age of 17 with a performance during Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. After winning first prize, she met bandleader Chick Webb and joined his group as a singer. That event would mark the beginning of her path to stardom.

Known as the “First Lady of Song” and the “Queen of Jazz,” Fitzgerald would go on to sell over 40 million albums and win 14 Grammy Awards.

Fitzgerald suffered from diabetes for several years later in life, which led to numerous complications. Eventually, she lost her eyesight and had to have her legs amputated below her knees. She died on June 15, 1996 at the age of 79.

Are you a jazz fan? Help expand Ella Fitzgerald’s family tree on Geni and connect her to over 120 million people in the World Family Tree.

View Ella Fitzgerald’s Geni Profile


Image: Library of Congress

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Amanda is the Social Media Coordinator at Geni. If you need any assistance, she will be happy to help!

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