Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Jane Fitzgerald was an American jazz singer sometimes referred to as the First Lady of Song, Queen of Jazz, and Lady Ella. She was born on April 25, 1917, in Newport News, Virginia.

After a tumultuous childhood and move to Harlem after her mother’s death, Fitzgerald took the stage at age 17 in one of the earliest Amateur Nights at the Apollo Theater and won first prize.

Her musical career flourished, both as a solo act and with notable collaborations with Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and The Ink Spots. Her best-known songs include "Dream a Little Dream of Me", "Cheek to Cheek", "Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall", and "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)."

Fitzgerald also appeared in several movies and television shows in the second half of the twentieth century, too. Her accolades included fourteen Grammy Awards, the National Medal of Arts, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

In 1993, Ella Fitzgerald made her final public performance. Three years later, after a tough battle with diabetes that left her with both legs amputated below the knee, she died at the age of 79 years old.

In 1997, Newport News, Virginia created a week-long music festival with Christopher Newport University to honor Ms. Fitzgerald. And In 2008, the Downing-Gross Cultural Arts Center in Newport News named its brand new theater the Ella Fitzgerald Theater, and its located only several blocks away from her birthplace on Marshall Avenue.

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