Ethel Waters
Actress, vocalist
Ethel Waters
Ethel Waters was an American blues, jazz and gospel vocalist and actress. She frequently performed jazz, big band, and pop music, on the Broadway stage and in concerts, although she began her career in the 1920s singing blues. Her best-known recordings includes, "Dinah", "Stormy Weather", "Taking a Chance on Love", "Heat Wave", "Supper Time", "Am I Blue?", and "Cabin in the Sky", as well as her version of the spiritual "His Eye Is on the Sparrow".
Biography
Ethel Waters's personal information overview.
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The Civil Wars, Missy Higgins Show Their True Blue Colors at Folks Fest - Huffington Post
Google News - over 5 years
Rhiannon Giddens of the Carolina Chocolate Drops delivered a riveting rendition of Ethel Waters' "No Man's Mama" that could make any wronged woman feel empowered. Carolina Chocolate Drops at the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival: From left, Dom Flemons,
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The Carolina Chocolate Drops: A sweet treat, indeed - The Seattle Times
Google News - over 5 years
One of the night's highlights was her rendition of '20s Broadway diva Ethel Waters' "Anticipation," which struck a contemporary note with its celebration of women's liberation. Band members casually but carefully cited their sources,
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Joanne Woodward on TCM: RACHEL, RACHEL; SUMMER WISHES, WINTER DREAMS - Alt Film Guide (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
But despite its countless flaws, The Sound and the Fury should be watched at least once because of its cast: in addition to Woodward and the bizarrely cast Brynner, there are Margaret Leighton, Ethel Waters, Françoise Rosay, Jack Warden, Stuart Whitman
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'Nannette & Her Hotsy Totsy Boys' - The Record Gazette
Google News - over 5 years
They put on a show featuring the songs of Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters, Fannie Brice, Cliff Edwards, Sophie Tucker, Ted Lewis, Ruth Etting and many more. For more information, contact the Edward Dean Museum & Gardens at (951) 845-2626 or
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Lena Horne and Katherine Dunham Break Ground in Stormy Weather - FemPop
Google News - over 5 years
It takes its name from the song written by Ted Koehler and Harold Arlen and first performed by Ethel Waters in 1933 at the Cotton Club. It was a time when the world was collapsing due to economic folly and wars were starting to sprout up overseas,
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Entertaining Empathy - New York Press
Google News - over 5 years
When the great Ethel Waters played mammy to Julie Harris in The Member of the Wedding, she represented a fount of human warmth and wisdom that The Help doesn't countenance. Hattie McDaniel in Gone With the Wind, Frances E. Williams as the profoundly
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Brecon Jazz Festival: The women retuning jazz - Telegraph.co.uk
Google News - over 5 years
That's when I discovered the early blues singers like Ethel Waters and Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith, and all these things I had no genetic connection to.” It turns out that these very English women (Mitra is actually a mix of Irish and Indian,
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The Secret Genius of Ke$ha - Dallas Observer
Google News - over 5 years
One could even hear women like Ethel Waters singing openly suggestive numbers in Harlem nightclubs in the '20s and '30s. While it's still not the norm, sexual frankness among women is certainly not so shocking in the 21st century
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F.Y.I.; A Historic Label
NYTimes - over 5 years
Q.The liner notes for one of my albums mentions a Black Swan Records in New York. It sounds interesting. Could you tell me about the company? A.Black Swan Records formally existed only from 1921 to its bankruptcy in 1923, but its cultural influence was profound. ''By 1924, Black Swan was known not only as a pioneering black-owned business, but also
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NYTimes article
Walnut Street Theatre Announces 2011-2012 Studio 3 Season - TheaterMania.com
Google News - over 5 years
(February 21= March 11), a portrait of Ethel Waters which will star Terry Burrell in the title role, John Patrick Shanley's Doubt - A Parable (March 27-April 15). and A Grand Night for Singing (May 1-June 24), a revue of songs by Richard Rodgers and
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The Road to "42nd Street:" Revisit theater history with the "42nd Street" backdrop - Naples Daily News
Google News - over 5 years
"As Thousands Cheer" was notable for being the first Broadway show to give an African-American star Ethel Waters equal billing with white actors and actresses. The story behind this February 1933 flop (15 performances) is far more interesting than the
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Where to celebrate a Star-Spangled 4th of July - Delaware County Daily Times
Google News - over 5 years
At Ethel Waters Park, a fashion show and cocktail party highlight the night. * Tony Terry concert Saturday concludes a full day of activities at Chester Park at 8 pm Other events include a wing-eating contest, a Zumba session and a kids fun fair
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A 60th Anniversary Perspective on â... - Eurweb.com
Google News - over 5 years
The Beulah Show” starring Ethel Waters aired before “Amos 'n' Andy,” but it featured an integrated (yes, white and black) cast of actors and actresses. In Part I, the essence of the “Amos 'n' Andy Television Show” was described, outlining the central
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A 60th Anniversary Perspective on â... - Eurweb.com
Google News - over 5 years
The show, which aired on ABC in 1950, however, featured an “integrated cast” led by actress Ethel Waters who played Beulah, a black maid. The “all-black” cast of Amos 'n' Andy was different. Set in Harlem, New York, Amos 'n' Andy focused on the
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'The Devil's Music': Blues work their magic on Bessie Smith's life - Zap2it.com (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
This was before Billie Holiday, Mahalia Jackson and Ethel Waters. Smith was the real deal, with a voice and attitude that were so raw and so real you either fell under her spell or wanted to find a way to stop her. Some, fools that they were, tried
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Cleo Laine sings songs in the key of life - Herald Scotland
Google News - over 5 years
... in the movies and – unsurprisingly, given that she was half-Jamaican – identified with the handful of black stars who appeared regularly on film in the 1930s and 1940s: Louis Armstrong, Lena Horne, Cab Calloway and Ethel Waters in particular
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Scene & Heard - Albany Times Union
Google News - over 5 years
The schedule is: June 24: "Cabin in the Sky" (US, 1943) Ethel Waters plays a devoted wife, Lena Horne a sultry songstress, and Eddie "Rochester" Anderson the man caught between them. July 1: "Lady Sings the Blues" (US, 1972) Supreme talent Diana Ross
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Ethel Waters
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1977
    Age 80
    Waters died on September 1, 1977, aged 80, from uterine cancer, kidney failure, and other ailments, in Chatsworth, California.
    More Details Hide Details She was the great-aunt of the singer-songwriter Crystal Waters.
  • 1973
    Age 76
    Three recordings by Waters were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, a special Grammy Award established in 1973 to honor recordings that are at least twenty-five years old and have "qualitative or historical significance."
    More Details Hide Details Waters' recording of "Stormy Weather" (1933) was listed in the National Recording Registry by the National Recording Preservation Board of the Library of Congress in 2003. Waters was approved for a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2004. However, as of 2014, the star has not been funded, and public fundraising efforts continue. Features: Short Subjects: TV:
  • 1957
    Age 60
    In the 1957 episode, she sang "Cabin in the Sky".
    More Details Hide Details Despite these successes, her brilliant career was fading. She lost tens of thousands in jewelry and cash in a robbery, and she had difficulties with the IRS. Her health suffered, and she worked only sporadically in the following years. In 1950–51 she wrote her autobiography His Eye Is on the Sparrow with Charles Samuels, in which she wrote candidly about her life. She explained why her age had often been misstated: her friends had to sign a paper claiming Waters was four years younger than she was to get a group insurance deal; she stated that she was born in 1900. His Eye Is on the Sparrow was adapted for a stage production in which she was portrayed by Ernestine Jackson. In her second autobiography, To Me, It's Wonderful, Waters stated that she was born in 1896. Rosetta Reitz called Waters "a natural... Her songs are enriching, nourishing. You will want to play them over and over again, idling in their warmth and swing. Though many of them are more than 50 years old, the music and the feeling are still there."
    She later guest-starred in 1957 and 1959 on NBC's The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford.
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  • FIFTIES
  • 1952
    Age 55
    Waters and Harris reprised their roles in the 1952 film version, Member of the Wedding.
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  • 1950
    Age 53
    In 1950, Waters starred in the television series Beulah, becoming the first African-American actress to have a lead role in a television series.
    More Details Hide Details However, she quit after complaining that the portrayal of blacks was "degrading."
    In 1950, she won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for her performance opposite Julie Harris in the play The Member of the Wedding.
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  • FORTIES
  • 1942
    Age 45
    MGM hired Lena Horne as the ingenue in the all-black musical Cabin in the Sky, and Waters starred as Petunia in 1942, reprising her stage role of 1940.
    More Details Hide Details The film, directed by Vincente Minnelli, was a success. She began to work with Fletcher Henderson again in the late 1940s. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the film Pinky (1949), under the direction of Elia Kazan, after the original director, John Ford, quit over disagreements with Waters. According to producer Darryl F. Zanuck, Ford "hated that old woman (Waters)." Ford, Kazan stated, "didn't know how to reach Ethel Waters." Kazan later referred to Waters's "truly odd combination of old-time religiosity and free-flowing hatred."
  • 1938
    Age 41
    In 1938 and 1939, she recorded for Bluebird.
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  • THIRTIES
  • 1935
    Age 38
    She recorded for the specialty label Liberty Music Shop Records in 1935 and again in 1940.
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  • 1934
    Age 37
    She signed with Decca Records in late 1934 for only two sessions, as well as a single session in early 1938.
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  • 1933
    Age 36
    In 1933, Waters appeared a satirical all-black film, Rufus Jones for President, which featured the child performer Sammy Davis Jr. as Rufus Jones.
    More Details Hide Details She went on to star at the Cotton Club, where, according to her autobiography, she "sang 'Stormy Weather' from the depths of the private hell in which I was being crushed and suffocated." She had a featured role in the wildly successful Irving Berlin Broadway musical revue As Thousands Cheer in 1933, in which she was the first black woman in an otherwise white show. She had three gigs at this point; in addition to the show, she starred in a national radio program and continued to work in nightclubs. She was the highest-paid performer on Broadway at that time.
  • 1932
    Age 35
    She signed with Brunswick Records in 1932 and remained until 1933, when she went back to Columbia.
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  • 1931
    Age 34
    She remained with Columbia through 1931.
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  • 1929
    Age 32
    In 1929, Waters and Pearl Wright arranged the unreleased Harry Akst song "Am I Blue?," which then appeared in the movie On with the Show and became a hit and her signature song.
    More Details Hide Details Although she was considered a blues singer during the pre-1925 period, Waters belonged to the vaudeville style of Mamie Smith, Viola McCoy, and Lucille Hegamin. While with Columbia, she introduced many popular standards, including "Dinah," "Heebie Jeebies," "Sweet Georgia Brown," "Someday, Sweetheart," "Am I Blue?" and "(What Did I Do to Be So) Black and Blue" on the popular series, while she continued to sing blues ("West End Blues," "Organ Grinder Blues," etc.) on Columbia's 14000 race series. During the 1920s, Waters performed and was recorded with the ensembles of Will Marion Cook and Lovie Austin. As her career continued, she evolved toward being a blues and Broadway singer, performing with artists such as Duke Ellington.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1925
    Age 28
    She first recorded for Columbia Records in 1925, achieving a hit with "Dinah," which was voted a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1998.
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  • 1924
    Age 27
    In 1924, Waters played at the Plantation Club on Broadway.
    More Details Hide Details She also toured with the Black Swan Dance Masters. With Earl Dancer, she joined what was called the "white time" Keith Vaudeville Circuit, a traditional white-audience based vaudeville circuit performing for white audiences and combined with screenings of silent movies. They received rave reviews in Chicago and earned the unheard of salary of US$1,250 in 1928.
    In early 1924, Paramount bought the Black Swan label, and she stayed with Paramount through that year.
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  • 1921
    Age 24
    She recorded with Black Swan from 1921 through 1923.
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    In 1921, Waters became the fifth black woman to make a record, on the tiny Cardinal Records label.
    More Details Hide Details She later joined Black Swan Records, where Fletcher Henderson was her accompanist. Waters later commented that Henderson tended to perform in a more classical style than she preferred, often lacking "the damn-it-to-hell bass."
    The jazz historian Rosetta Reitz pointed out that by the time Waters returned to Harlem in 1921, women blues singers were among the most powerful entertainers in the country.
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  • 1919
    Age 22
    Waters obtained her first Harlem job at Edmond's Cellar, a club with a black patronage. She specialized in popular ballads and became an actress in a blackface comedy, Hello 1919.
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    Around 1919, Waters moved to Harlem and there became a celebrity performer in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s.
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1896
    Born
    Waters was born in Chester, Pennsylvania, on October 31, 1896, as a result of the rape of her teenaged mother, Louise Anderson (believed to have been 13 years old at the time, although some sources indicate she may have been slightly older), by John Waters, a pianist and family acquaintance from a mixed-race middle-class background.
    More Details Hide Details He played no role in raising Ethel. Soon after she was born, her mother married railroad worker Norman Howard. Ethel used the surname Howard as a child, before reverting to her father's name of Waters. She was raised in poverty and never lived in the same place for more than 15 months. She said of her difficult childhood, "I never was a child. I never was cuddled, or liked, or understood by my family." Waters grew tall, standing 5' 9½" in her teens. According to women-in-jazz historian and archivist Rosetta Reitz, Waters's birth in the North and her peripatetic life exposed her to many cultures. Waters married at the age of 13, but her husband was abusive, and she soon left the marriage and became a maid in a Philadelphia hotel, working for $4.75 per week. On her 17th birthday, she attended a costume party at a nightclub on Juniper Street. She was persuaded to sing two songs and impressed the audience so much that she was offered professional work at the Lincoln Theatre in Baltimore. She later recalled that she earned the rich sum of ten dollars a week, but her managers cheated her out of the tips her admirers threw on the stage.
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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