50 Facts About Ella Fitzgerald


Ella Fitzgerald's manager was Moe Gale, co-founder of the Savoy, until she turned the rest of her career over to Norman Granz, who founded Verve Records to produce new records by Fitzgerald.


Ella Fitzgerald's accolades included 14 Grammy Awards, the National Medal of Arts, the NAACP's inaugural President's Award, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.


Ella Fitzgerald was born on April 25,1917, in Newport News, Virginia.


Ella Fitzgerald was the daughter of William Fitzgerald and Temperance "Tempie" Henry, both described as "mulatto" in the 1920 census.


Ella Fitzgerald's parents were unmarried but lived together in the East End section of Newport News for at least two and a half years after she was born.


Ella Fitzgerald's half-sister, Frances da Silva, whom she stayed close to for all of her life, was born in 1923.


Ella Fitzgerald began her formal education at the age of six and was an outstanding student, moving through a variety of schools before attending Benjamin Franklin Junior High School in 1929.


Ella Fitzgerald performed for her peers on the way to school and at lunchtime.


Ella Fitzgerald listened to jazz recordings by Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, and The Boswell Sisters.


In 1932, when Ella Fitzgerald was 15 years old, her mother died from injuries sustained in a car accident.


Ella Fitzgerald's stepfather took care of her until April 1933 when she moved to Harlem to live with her aunt.


Ella Fitzgerald worked as a lookout at a bordello and with a Mafia-affiliated numbers runner.


Ella Fitzgerald never talked publicly about this time in her life.


Ella Fitzgerald had intended to go on stage and dance, but she was intimidated by a local dance duo called the Edwards Sisters and opted to sing instead.


Ella Fitzgerald won the chance to perform at the Apollo for a week but, seemingly because of her disheveled appearance, the theater never gave her that part of her prize.


In January 1935, Ella Fitzgerald won the chance to perform for a week with the Tiny Bradshaw band at the Harlem Opera House.


Ella Fitzgerald recorded several hit songs, including "Love and Kisses" and " You'll Have to Swing It ".


Ella Fitzgerald recorded nearly 150 songs with Webb's orchestra between 1935 and 1942.


Ella Fitzgerald had her own side project, too, known as Ella Fitzgerald and Her Savoy Eight.


Where other singers, most notably Louis Armstrong, had tried similar improvisation, no one before Miss Ella Fitzgerald employed the technique with such dazzling inventiveness.


Ella Fitzgerald made her first tour of Australia in July 1954 for the Australian-based American promoter Lee Gordon.


Ella Fitzgerald was still performing at Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic concerts by 1955.


Ella Fitzgerald left Decca, and Granz, now her manager, created Verve Records around her.


On March 15,1955, Ella Fitzgerald opened her initial engagement at the Mocambo nightclub in Hollywood, after Marilyn Monroe lobbied the owner for the booking.


Fitzgerald recorded albums exclusively devoted to the songs of Porter and Gershwin in 1972 and 1983; the albums being, respectively, Ella Loves Cole and Nice Work If You Can Get It.


In 1961 Ella Fitzgerald bought a house in the Klampenborg district of Copenhagen, Denmark, after she began a relationship with a Danish man.


The house was sold in 1963, and Ella Fitzgerald permanently returned to the United States.


Ella Fitzgerald made numerous guest appearances on television shows, singing on The Frank Sinatra Show, The Carol Burnett Show, The Andy Williams Show, The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom, and alongside other greats Nat King Cole, Dean Martin, Mel Torme, and many others.


Ella Fitzgerald was frequently featured on The Ed Sullivan Show.


Ella Fitzgerald made a one-off appearance alongside Sarah Vaughan and Pearl Bailey on a 1979 television special honoring Bailey.


Ella Fitzgerald appeared in TV commercials, her most memorable being an ad for Memorex.


Ella Fitzgerald Just One of Those Things is a film about her life including interviews with many famous singers and musicians who worked with her and her son.


Ella Fitzgerald had a number of famous jazz musicians and soloists as sidemen over her long career.


Possibly Ella Fitzgerald's greatest unrealized collaboration was a studio or live album with Frank Sinatra.


Ella Fitzgerald suffered from diabetes for several years of her later life, which had led to numerous complications.


In 1985, Ella Fitzgerald was hospitalized briefly for respiratory problems, in 1986 for congestive heart failure, and in 1990 for exhaustion.


Ella Fitzgerald died in her home from a stroke on June 15,1996, at the age of 79.


Ella Fitzgerald had even gone as far as furnishing an apartment in Oslo, but the affair was quickly forgotten when Larsen was sentenced to five months' hard labor in Sweden for stealing money from a young woman to whom he had previously been engaged.


Ella Fitzgerald was a lonely girl around New York, just kept herself to herself, for the gig.


From 1949 to 1956, Ella Fitzgerald resided in St Albans, New York, an enclave of prosperous African Americans where she counted among her neighbors Illinois Jacquet, Count Basie, Lena Horne, and other jazz luminaries.


Ella Fitzgerald was a civil rights activist, using her talent to break racial barriers across the nation.


Ella Fitzgerald was awarded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Equal Justice Award and the American Black Achievement Award.


Ella Fitzgerald's goals were to give back and provide opportunities for those "at risk" and less fortunate.


Ella Fitzgerald won 13 Grammy Awards, and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1967.


In 1958 Ella Fitzgerald became the first African-American woman to win at the inaugural show.


Bridgewater's album Dear Ella featured many musicians that were closely associated with Fitzgerald during her career, including the pianist Lou Levy, the trumpeter Benny Powell, and Fitzgerald's second husband, double bassist Ray Brown.


Folk singer Odetta's album To Ella is dedicated to Fitzgerald, but features no songs associated with her.


Ella Fitzgerald is referred to in the 1976 Stevie Wonder hit "Sir Duke" from his album Songs in the Key of Life, and the song "I Love Being Here With You", written by Peggy Lee and Bill Schluger.


Ella Fitzgerald is honored in the song "First Lady" by Canadian artist Nikki Yanofsky.


On January 9,2007, the United States Postal Service announced that Ella Fitzgerald would be honored with her own postage stamp.