28 Facts About Duke Ellington

1. Duke Ellington earned 14 Grammy awards from 1959 to 2000, three of which were posthumous and a total of 24 nominations.

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2. Duke Ellington composed incessantly to the very last days of his life.

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3. Duke Ellington eventually arrived at the UCLA campus and, to apologize for his tardiness, played to the packed crowd for more than four hours.

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4. Duke Ellington lived for years in a townhouse on the corner of Manhattan's Riverside Drive and West 106th Street.

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5. Duke Ellington is depicted on the quarter seated at a piano, sheet music in hand, along with the inscription "Justice for All", which is the District's motto.

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6. Duke Ellington appears on the reverse side of the District of Columbia quarter.

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7. Duke Ellington died on May 24, 1974, of complications from lung cancer and pneumonia, a few weeks after his 75th birthday.

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8. Duke Ellington was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha and was a freemason associated with Prince Hall Freemasonry.

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9. Duke Ellington supported both women for the rest of his life.

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10. In 1928, Duke Ellington became the companion of Mildred Dixon, who traveled with him, managed Tempo Music, inspired songs at the peak of his career, and raised his son Mercer.

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11. Duke Ellington was joined in New York City by his wife and son in the late twenties, but the couple soon permanently separated.

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12. Duke Ellington was shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1965 but no prize was ultimately awarded that year.

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13. Duke Ellington wrote an original score for director Michael Langham's production of Shakespeare's Timon of Athens at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada which opened on July 29, 1963.

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14. Duke Ellington signed to Frank Sinatra's new Reprise label, but the association with the label was short-lived.

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15. Duke Ellington continued on his own course through these tectonic shifts.

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16. Duke Ellington objected in the interval, and compared Jeffries to Al Jolson.

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17. Duke Ellington signed exclusively to Brunswick in 1932 and stayed with them through late 1936.

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18. Duke Ellington wrote "The three greatest composers who ever lived are Bach, Delius and Duke Ellington.

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19. Duke Ellington appeared in the Amos 'n' Andy film Check and Double Check, released in 1930.

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20. Duke Ellington died in 1932 at the age of 29, but he was an important influence on Cootie Williams, who replaced him.

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21. Duke Ellington made eight records in 1924, receiving composing credit on three including "Choo Choo".

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22. Duke Ellington was known to play the bugle at the end of each performance.

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23. Duke Ellington had a messenger job with the US Navy and State departments, where he made a wide range of contacts.

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24. Duke Ellington started to play gigs in cafes and clubs in and around Washington, DC His attachment to music was so strong that in 1916 he turned down an art scholarship to the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.

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25. Duke Ellington started sneaking into Frank Holiday's Poolroom at the age of fourteen.

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26. Duke Ellington went to Armstrong Technical High School in Washington, DC He gained his first job selling peanuts at Washington Senators baseball games.

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27. At the age of seven, Duke Ellington began taking piano lessons from Marietta Clinkscales.

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28. Duke Ellington was born on April 29, 1899, to James Edward Ellington and Daisy Ellington in Washington, DC Both his parents were pianists.

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