Herb Jeffries

Singer + Actor
Born Sep 24, 1913

Herbert "Herb" Jeffries is a retired American jazz and popular singer and actor.

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1913 Birth Born on September 24, 1913.
1920 6 Years Old Firm evidence of Jeffries’s race and age is hard to come by, but census documents from 1920 described him as mulatto and listed his father as a black man named Howard Jeffrey. … Read More


1929 15 Years Old Raised in Detroit, Jeffries grew up "a ghetto baby" in a mixed neighborhood without encountering severe racism as a child. In the aftermath of the Wall Street Crash of 1929, he dropped out of high school to earn a living as a singer. … Read More
1933 19 Years Old …  His break came during the 1933 Chicago World's Fair A Century of Progress International Exposition singing with the Earl Hines Orchestra on Hines’ national broadcasts live from the Grand Terrace Cafe.


1934 20 Years Old His first recordings were with Hines in 1934, including "Just to be in Carolina".
1940 26 Years Old 1 More Event
By 1940, he was singing with the Duke Ellington Orchestra and then recorded with him from 1940 to 1942.


1944 30 Years Old The 1944 single "My Little Brown Book" by Ellington and his Famous Orchestra, on which Jeffries provided vocals, reached No. 4 on Billboard R&B chart. … Read More
1945 31 Years Old In 1945, Jeffries had a hit on the Billboard R&B chart with "Left A Good Deal In Mobile" (No. 2), on which he was accompanied by pianist Joe Liggins and his band Honeydrippers. … Read More


1957 43 Years Old He was back in America by the 1950s, recording jazz records again, including 1957 collection of ballads, Say It Isn’t So. … Read More


1968 54 Years Old …  In 1968, Jeffries appeared in the long-running western TV series The Virginian playing a gunslinger who intimidated the town. … Read More


2004 90 Years Old In 2004 he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. … Read More
2007 93 Years Old In 2007, while assembling material for the producers of a documentary film about him (A Colored Life), Jeffries found his birth certificate; this reminded him that he actually was born in 1913 and that he had misrepresented his age after he left home to look for a job.
2010 96 Years Old He appeared at jazz festivals and events benefiting autism and other developmental problems and lectured at colleges and universities. He supported music education in schools. In June 2010, aged 96, Jeffries performed to raise funds for the Oceanside (California) Unified School District's music program, accompanied by the Big Band Jazz Hall of Fame Orchestra under the direction of clarinetist Tad Calcara. … Read More
2014 101 Years Old In later years, he resided in Wichita, Kansas. He died of heart failure at West Hills Hospital and Medical Center on May 25, 2014, at the age of 100.
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