21 Facts About Anita O'Day


Anita O'Day changed her surname from Colton to O'Day, pig Latin for "dough", slang for money.


Anita O'Day toured with the Walk-a-thons circuits for two years, occasionally being called upon to sing.


Anita O'Day started out as a chorus girl in such Uptown venues as the Celebrity Club and the Vanity Fair, and then found work as a singer and waitress at the Ball of Fire, the Vialago, and the Planet Mars.


At the Vialago, Anita O'Day met the drummer Don Carter, who introduced her to music theory; they wed in 1937.


In 1939, Anita O'Day was hired as vocalist for Miller's Quartet, which had a stay at the Three Deuces club in Chicago.


Anita O'Day came in fourth, with Helen O'Connell first, Helen Forrest second, Billie Holiday third, and Dinah Shore fifth.


Anita O'Day married golf professional and jazz fan, Carl Hoff, in 1942.

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When Krupa's band broke up, after he was arrested in 1943 for marijuana possession, Anita O'Day joined Woody Herman for a month-long gig at the Hollywood Palladium, followed by two weeks at the Orpheum.


Anita O'Day appeared in one soundie with Kenton, performing "I'm Going Mad for a Pad" and "Tabby the Cat".


Anita O'Day's career was back on the upswing in September 1948 when she sang with Count Basie at the Royal Roost in New York City, resulting in five airchecks.


Anita O'Day recorded steadily throughout the 1950s, accompanied by small combos and big bands.


In person, Anita O'Day generally was backed by a trio that included John Poole, the drummer with whom she would work for the next 40 years.


Anita O'Day appeared in the documentary Jazz on a Summer's Day, filmed at the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival, which increased her popularity.


Anita O'Day admitted later that she was probably high on heroin during the concert.


Anita O'Day wrote in her 1981 autobiography that when Goodman's attempts to upstage her failed to diminish the audience's enthusiasm, he cut all but two of her numbers from the show.


Anita O'Day went back to touring as a solo artist and appeared on such TV specials as the Timex All-Star Jazz Show and The Swingin' Years hosted by Ronald Reagan.


Anita O'Day recorded infrequently after the expiration of her Verve contract in 1962, and her career seemed over when she nearly died of a heroin overdose in 1968.


Anita O'Day resumed making live and studio albums under the new management of Alan Eichler, many recorded in Japan, and several were released on Emily Records, owned by Anita O'Day and John Poole.


On Thanksgiving Day, November 23,2006, at age 87, Anita O'Day died in her sleep.


Anita O'Day cited Martha Raye as the primary influence on her vocal style, expressing admiration for Mildred Bailey, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday.


Anita O'Day always maintained that the accidental excision of her uvula during a childhood tonsillectomy left her incapable of vibrato, and unable to maintain long phrases.