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Encyclopedia > Ethel Waters
Ethel Waters
photo by Carl Van Vechten, 1938
photo by Carl Van Vechten, 1938
Background information
Born October 31, 1900(1900-10-31)
Chester, Pennsylvania, USA
Died September 1, 1977 (aged 80)
Chatsworth, California, USA
Genre(s) Jazz, popular
Occupation(s) Actress, vocalist
Instrument(s) Vocals
Years active 1925-1977
Associated acts Josephine Baker
Alberta Hunter
Bessie Smith
Fletcher Henderson

Ethel Waters (October 31, 1900September 1, 1977) was an American blues and jazz vocalist and actor. She frequently performed jazz, big band, rock and roll and pop music, on the Broadway stage and in concerts, although she began her career in the 1920s singing blues. Her best-known recording was her version of the spiritual, "His Eye is on the Sparrow", and she was the second African American ever nominated for an Academy Award. Ethel Waters, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1938 Aug. ... Carl Van Vechten (June 17, 1880 – December 21, 1964) was an American writer and photographer who was a patron of the Harlem Renaissance and the literary executor of Gertrude Stein. ... is the 304th day of the year (305th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Ğ: For the film, see: 1900 (film). ... Chester is a city in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, population 36,854 at the 2000 census. ... is the 244th day of the year (245th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Also: 1977 (album) by Ash. ... Chatsworth is a community of Los Angeles, bordered by the Santa Susana Mountains and unincorporated Los Angeles County lands to the north, Porter Ranch to the northeast, Northridge to the east, West Hills to the south, and the Simi Hills, Ventura County, Simi Valley, and Chatsworth Lake Manor to the... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... For other uses, see Jazz (disambiguation). ... For the music genre, see Pop music. ... Actors in period costume sharing a joke whilst waiting between takes during location filming. ... In music a singer or vocalist is a type of musician who sings, i. ... A musical instrument is a device constructed or modified for the purpose of making music. ... In music a singer or vocalist is a type of musician who sings, i. ... For the first female director of Public Health, see Sara Josephine Baker. ... Alberta Hunter (April 1, 1895 - October 17, 1984), was a celebrated African-American jazz singer, songwriter and nurse. ... This article includes a list of works cited or a list of external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ... Fletcher Hamilton Henderson, Jr. ... is the 304th day of the year (305th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Ğ: For the film, see: 1900 (film). ... is the 244th day of the year (245th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Also: 1977 (album) by Ash. ... Blues music redirects here. ... For other uses, see Jazz (disambiguation). ... In music a singer or vocalist is a type of musician who sings, i. ... Actors in period costume sharing a joke whilst waiting between takes during location filming. ... A big band is a type of musical ensemble associated with playing jazz music and which became popular during the Swing Era from the early 1930s until the late 1940s, although there are many big-bands around nowadays. ... This article is about the genre of popular music. ... For other uses of Broadway, see Broadway. ... Spiritual as a noun is used to denote songs created by American slaves, and the style in which they were sung. ... His Eye is on the Sparrow is a traditional gospel spiritual. ... Although he never won an Oscar for any of his movie performances, the comedian Bob Hope received two honorary Oscars for his contributions to cinema. ...

Contents

Biography

Early life

Waters was born in Chester, Pennsylvania, to a thirteen-year-old mother who had been raped. She was raised in a violent, impoverished home. Even though she was eventually adopted by her grandmother, she never lived in the same place for more than 15 months. She said of her difficult childhood, "I never was a child. I never was coddled, or liked, or understood by my family." Despite this unpromising start, Waters demonstrated early the love of language that so distinguishes her work. Moreover, according to her biographer Rosetta Reitz, Waters' birth in the North and her peripatetic life exposed her to many cultures. For the rest of her life, this lent to her interpretation of southern blues a unique sensibility that pulled in eclectic influences from across American music. Chester is a city in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, population 36,854 at the 2000 census. ...


Waters married at the age of 13, but soon left her abusive husband and became a maid in a Philadelphia hotel working for US$4.75 per week.[1] On her thirteenth birthday, on Halloween night in 1913, she attended a party in costume at a nightclub on Juniper Street. She was persuaded to sing two songs, and impressed the audience so much that she was offered professional work at the Lincoln Theatre in Baltimore, Maryland and She later recalled that she earned the rich sum of ten dollars a week, but her managers cheated her out of the tips her admirers threw on the stage. Waters had added four years to her age when she joined the theatre and it was not until after her death that her real age was discovered. Baltimore redirects here. ...


Career

Waters was very talented and had many achievements. After her start in Baltimore, she toured honky tonks in the South. As she described it later, "I used to work from nine until unconscious."[1] Despite her early success, Waters fell on hard times and joined a carnival which traveled in freight cars to Chicago, Illinois. She enjoyed her time with the carnival, and recalled, "The roustabouts and the concessionaires were the kind of people I'd grown up with, rough, tough, full of larceny towards strangers, but sentimental, and loyal to their friends and co-workers." She did not last long with them, though, and soon headed south to Atlanta, Georgia. There, she worked in the same club with Bessie Smith. Smith demanded that she not compete in singing the blues opposite her, and Waters conceded to the older woman and instead sang ballads and popular songs and danced. Though perhaps best known for her blues singing today, Waters was to go on to star in musicals, plays and TV and return to the blues only periodically. Honky tonk was originally the name of a type of bar common throughout the southern United States, also Honkatonk or Honkey-tonk. ... Flag Seal Nickname: The Windy City Motto: Urbs In Horto (Latin: City in a Garden), I Will Location Location in Chicagoland and northern Illinois Coordinates , Government Country State Counties United States Illinois Cook, DuPage Mayor Richard M. Daley (D) Geographical characteristics Area     City 606. ... Atlanta redirects here. ... This article includes a list of works cited or a list of external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ... For other uses, see Ballad (disambiguation). ...


She fell in love with a drug addict in this early period, but their stormy relationship ended with World War I. She moved to Harlem and became part of the Harlem Renaissance around 1919. “The Great War ” redirects here. ... For other uses, see Harlem (disambiguation). ... The Harlem Renaissance was named after the anthology The New Negro, edited by Alain Locke in 1925. ...


Waters obtained her first job at Edmond's Cellar, a club that had a black patronage. She specialized in popular ballads, and became an actress in a blackface comedy called Hello 1919. Her biographer, Rosetta Reitz, points out that by the time Waters returned to Harlem in 1921, women blues singers were among the most powerful entertainers in the country. In 1921 Waters became the fifth black woman to make a record. She later joined Black Swan Records, where Fletcher Henderson was her accompanist. Waters later commented that Henderson tended to perform in a more classical style than she would prefer, often lacking "the damn-it-to-hell bass". According to Waters, she influenced Henderson to practice in a "real jazz" style. She first recorded for Columbia Records in 1925; this recording was given a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1998. Soon after, Waters started working with Pearl Wright, and together they toured in the South. In 1924 Waters played at the Plantation Club on Broadway. She also toured with the Black Swan Dance Masters. With Earl Dancer, she joined what was called the "white time" Keith Circuit. They received rave reviews in Chicago, and earned the unheard-of salary of US$1,250 in 1928. In 1929, Harry Akst helped Wright and Waters compose a version of "Am I Blue?", her signature tune. This reproduction of a 1900 minstrel show poster, originally published by the Strobridge Litho Co. ... Black Swan Records was a United States record label in the 1920s; it was the first to be owned and operated by, and marketed to, African Americans. ... Fletcher Hamilton Henderson, Jr. ... Columbia Records is the oldest brand name in recorded sound, dating back to 1888, and was the first record company to produce pre-recorded records as opposed to blank cylinders. ... The Grammy Hall of Fame Award is a special Grammy award established in 1973 to honor recordings that are at least twenty-five years old and that have qualitative or historical significance. Alphabetical listing by title: List of Grammy Hall of Fame Award recipients A-D List of Grammy Hall... A view of Broadway in 1909 Broadway, as the name implies, is a wide avenue in New York City. ... Benjamin Franklin Keith (1846-1914) in 1902 Keith Memorial Theatre, Boston Benjamin Franklin Keith (January 26, 1846 – March 26, 1914) was an American vaudeville theatre owner. ... Harry Akst (August 15, 1894–March 31, 1963) was an American songwriter. ...


During the 1920s, Waters performed and/or was recorded with the ensembles of Will Marion Cook and Lovie Austin. As her career continued, she evolved toward being a blues and Broadway singer, performing with artists such as Duke Ellington. Will Marion Cook (1869–1944) was a composer and violinist from the United States. ... Lovie Austin (19 September 1887 - 10 July 1972[1]) was a popular and colorful figure of the 1920s Chicago Jazz and Blues scene. ... Blues music redirects here. ... Note on spelling: While most Americans use er (as per American spelling conventions), the majority of venues, performers and trade groups for live theatre use re. ... This article is about the American Jazz composer and performer. ...


In 1933, Waters made a satirical all-black film entitled Rufus Jones for President. She went on to star at the Cotton Club, where, according to her autobiography, she "sang 'Stormy Weather' from the depths of the private hell in which I was being crushed and suffocated." She took a role in the Broadway musical revue As Thousands Cheer in 1933, where she was the first black woman in an otherwise white show. She had three gigs at this point; in addition to the show, she starred in a national radio program and continued to work in nightclubs. She was the highest paid performer on Broadway, but she was starting to age. MGM hired Lena Horne as the ingenue in the all-Black musical Cabin in the Sky, and Waters starred as Petunia in 1942, reprising her stage role of 1940. The film, directed by Vincente Minnelli, was a success, but Waters, offended by the adulation accorded Horne and feeling her age, went into something of a decline. Rufus Jones, a Negro child, is elected president of the USA in this short musical comedy. ... For the 1984 film of the same name, see The Cotton Club The Cotton Club was a famous night club in New York City that operated during and after Prohibition. ... Stormy Weather is a 1933 song written by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler. ... As Thousands Cheer is a Broadway revue that opened September 30, 1933, with music and lyrics by Irving Berlin and book by Moss Hart. ... MGM logo Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer or MGM, is a large media company, involved primarily in the production and distribution of cinema and television programs. ... Lena Mary Calhoun Horne (born June 30, 1917 in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York City, New York) is a popular singer of African-American descent. ... ... Vincente Minnelli (February 28, 1903 – July 25, 1986) was a famous Academy Award-winning Hollywood director and accomplished stage director, often considered by critics to be the father of the modern musical. ...

Waters with Count Basie in Stage Door Canteen (1943)
Waters with Count Basie in Stage Door Canteen (1943)

She began to work with Fletcher Henderson again in the late 1940s. She was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award in 1949 for the film Pinky. In 1950, she won the New York Drama Critics Award for her performance opposite Julie Harris in the play The Member of the Wedding. Waters and Harris repeated their roles in the 1952 film version of Member of the Wedding. In 1950, Waters starred in the television series Beulah but quit after complaining that the scripts' portrayal of African-Americans was "degrading." Image File history File links CountBasieEthelWatersStageDoorCanteen2. ... Image File history File links CountBasieEthelWatersStageDoorCanteen2. ... William Count Basie (August 21, 1904 – April 26, 1984) was an American jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer. ... Stage Door Canteen is a 1943 film. ... Academy Award The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, are the most prominent and most watched film awards ceremony in the world. ... Pinky is a 1949 film which tells the story of a young lightskinned African American woman passing as white, who becomes torn between the needs of her grandmother and the love of a white doctor. ... Actress Julie Harris photo taken by Carl Van Vechten 1952 Julie Harris (born Julia Ann Harris on December 2, 1925 in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan) is an American actress. ... The Member of the Wedding is a novel by Carson McCullers. ... The Member of the Wedding is a 1946 novel by Carson McCullers. ... A television program is the content of television broadcasting. ... Beulah magazine ad For other uses, see Beulah. ...


Despite these successes, her brilliant career was fading. She lost tens of thousands in jewelry and cash in a robbery, and the IRS hounded her. Her health suffered, and worked only sporadically in following years. In 1950-51 she wrote her autobiography, His Eye is on the Sparrow, with Charles Samuels. In it, she talks candidly about her life. She also explains why her age has often been misstated, saying that her mother had to sign a paper saying she was four years older than she was. She states she was born in 1900. In her second autobiography, To Me, It's Wonderful, Waters states that she was born in 1896.[2] Seal of the Internal Revenue Service Tax rates around the world Tax revenue as % of GDP Part of the Taxation series        IRS redirects here. ... Cover of the first English edition of 1793 of Benjamin Franklins autobiography. ...


Her biographer, Rosetta Reitz, called Waters "a natural". Her "songs are enriching, nourishing. You will want to play them over and over again, idling in their warmth and swing. Though many of them are more than 50 years old, the music and the feeling are still there."


Private life

Waters is the great-aunt of Dance music singer and songwriter Crystal Waters. In the period before her death in Los Angeles, California, she toured with The Reverend Billy Graham, despite the fact that she had once been a Catholic and he was a Protestant. Waters was bisexual,[3] and states in her autobiography, "I wanted love and to get love back. I didn't want a man. Don't misunderstand me, I'm a normal woman. But I'd been so hurt."[2] She died in 1977 at the age of 76[4] from heart disease, at the Chatsworth, California home of a young couple who cared for her. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... For other uses, see Singer (disambiguation). ... A songwriter is someone who writes the lyrics to songs, the musical composition or melody to songs, or both. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Los Angeles and L.A. redirect here. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... For other persons named Billy Graham, see Billy Graham (disambiguation). ... Protestantism is a general grouping of denominations within Christianity. ... Chatsworth is a community of Los Angeles, bordered by the Santa Susana Mountains and unincorporated Los Angeles County lands to the north, Porter Ranch to the northeast, Northridge to the east, West Hills to the south, and the Simi Hills, Ventura County, Simi Valley, and Chatsworth Lake Manor to the...


Awards and honors

Grammy Hall of Fame

Recordings of Waters were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, which is a special Grammy award established in 1973 to honor recordings that are at least twenty-five years old, and that have "qualitative or historical significance." The Grammy Hall of Fame Award is a special Grammy award established in 1973 to honor recordings that are at least twenty-five years old and that have qualitative or historical significance. Alphabetical listing by title: List of Grammy Hall of Fame Award recipients A-D List of Grammy Hall...

Ethel Waters: Grammy Hall of Fame Award [5]
Year Recorded Title Genre Label Year Inducted
1929 "Am I Blue?" Traditional Pop (Single) Columbia 2007
1933 "Stormy Weather"
(Keeps Rainin' All The Time)
Jazz (Single) Brunswick 2003
1925 "Dinah" Traditional Pop (Single) Columbia 1998

The Grammy Hall of Fame Award is a special Grammy award established in 1973 to honor recordings that are at least twenty-five years old and that have qualitative or historical significance. Alphabetical listing by title: List of Grammy Hall of Fame Award recipients A-D List of Grammy Hall... Stormy Weather is a 1933 song written by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler. ...

National Recording Registry

Waters' recording of "Stormy Weather" (1933) was honored by the Library of Congress. It was listed in the National Recording Registry in 2004. Stormy Weather is a 1933 song written by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler. ... Construction of the Thomas Jefferson Building, from July 8, 1888 to May 15, 1894. ... Martin Luther King Jr. ...


Legacy

Year Title Organization Result Notes
2007 Christian Hall of Fame[6] Inducted
1994 29 cents Commemorative stamp [7] U.S. Postal Service Honoree Photo (Scott #2851)
1983 Gospel Music Hall of Fame Inducted
1962 Outstanding Single Performance
by an Actress in a Series
Emmy Awards Nominee Route 66 (TV Series)
"Goodnight Sweet Blues"
1949 Best Supporting Actress [8] Academy Award Nominee Pinky (film)

This article lists people who have been featured on United States postage stamps. ... The Gospel Music Hall of Fame, created in 1971 by the Gospel Music Association, is a Hall of Fame dedicated exclusively to recognizing meaningful contributions by individuals in all forms of gospel music. ... An Emmy Award. ... Route 66 was an American TV series in which two young men traveled across America. ... Academy Award The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, are the most prominent and most watched film awards ceremony in the world. ... Pinky (1949) is a film which tells the story of a young lightskinned African American woman passing as white, who becomes torn between the needs of her grandmother and the love of a white doctor. ...

Filmography

Madeline and Marion Fairbanks dancing. ... Rufus Jones, a Negro child, is elected president of the USA in this short musical comedy. ... Gift of Gab is a black and white film which was released in 1934 by Universal Pictures. ... Tales of Manhattan is a 1942 black-and-white anthology film directed by Julien Duvivier. ... ... Stage Door Canteen is a 1943 film. ... Pinky (1949) is a film which tells the story of a young lightskinned African American woman passing as white, who becomes torn between the needs of her grandmother and the love of a white doctor. ... The Member of the Wedding is a novel by Carson McCullers. ... The Sound and the Fury is a Southern Gothic novel written by American author William Faulkner, which makes use of the stream of consciousness narrative technique pioneered by European authors such as James Joyce and Virginia Woolf. ...

References

  1. ^ a b "Waters, Ethel" (1941). Current Biography: p. 899-900. The H. W. Wilson Company. Retrieved on 2008-02-06. 
  2. ^ a b Waters, Ethel (1972). To Me, It's Wonderful. New York: Harper & Row. OCLC 329566. 
  3. ^ Faderman, Lillian (1991). Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth-Century America. London: Penguin Books Ltd, p. 75. ISBN 0140171223. 
  4. ^ Obituaries listed her age as 80 as it was many years later before her true age came to light. Many biographies still list her year of birth as 1896.
  5. ^ Grammy Hall of Fame. The Recording Academy. (2007). Retrieved on 2008-02-06.
  6. ^ Christian Music Hall of Fame. Christian Music Hall of Fame and Museum (20 January 2008). Retrieved on 2008-02-06.
  7. ^ Richard Tucker (03 July 2003). Ethel Waters: Commemorative stamp. The Ebony Society of Philatelic Events and Reflections. Retrieved on 2008-02-06.
  8. ^ Awards Database: Ethel Waters. The Envelope Please. The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on 2008-02-06.

2008 (MMVIII) is the current year, a leap year that started on Tuesday of the Anno Domini (or common era), in accordance to the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 37th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... The Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) was founded in 1967 and originally named the Ohio College Library Center. ... 2008 (MMVIII) is the current year, a leap year that started on Tuesday of the Anno Domini (or common era), in accordance to the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 37th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2008 (MMVIII) is the current year, a leap year that started on Tuesday of the Anno Domini (or common era), in accordance to the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 37th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2008 (MMVIII) is the current year, a leap year that started on Tuesday of the Anno Domini (or common era), in accordance to the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 37th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 2008 (MMVIII) is the current year, a leap year that started on Tuesday of the Anno Domini (or common era), in accordance to the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 37th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ...

Further reading

  • Bourne, Stephen (2007). Ethel Waters: Stormy weather. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0810859025. 
  • Southern, Eileen (1997). The Music of Black Americans: A History. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 0393971414. 
  • Waters, Ethel (1972). To Me It's Wonderful. New York: Harper & Row. OCLC 329566. 
  • Waters, Ethel; Samuels, Charles T. (1992). His Eye on the Sparrow: An Autobiography. New York: Da Capo Press. ISBN 0306804778. 

The Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) was founded in 1967 and originally named the Ohio College Library Center. ...

External links

Persondata
NAME Waters, Ethel
ALTERNATIVE NAMES
SHORT DESCRIPTION Actress, vocalist
DATE OF BIRTH 1896-10-31
PLACE OF BIRTH Chester, Pennsylvania, USA
DATE OF DEATH 1977-9-1
PLACE OF DEATH Chatsworth, California, USA
The African American Registry (The Registry) is a non-profit educational resource for the learning community to supply teachers with the information, method, and materials to provide a solid educational background in Black history and heritage, in the sciences, business, the arts, and all facets of academics and life. ... The All Music Guide (AMG) is a large, comprehensive and high quality metadata database about music. ... For the in-memory database management system, see In-memory database. ... Actors in period costume sharing a joke whilst waiting between takes during location filming. ... In music a singer or vocalist is a type of musician who sings, i. ... Chester is a city in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, population 36,854 at the 2000 census. ... Chatsworth is a community of Los Angeles, bordered by the Santa Susana Mountains and unincorporated Los Angeles County lands to the north, Porter Ranch to the northeast, Northridge to the east, West Hills to the south, and the Simi Hills, Ventura County, Simi Valley, and Chatsworth Lake Manor to the...

  Results from FactBites:
 
Ethel Waters (306 words)
Ethel Waters was born to a 12 year old mother, Louise Anderson, who had been raped by a white man, John Waters.
Waters performed for the first time at the age of five in a children's church program.
Waters is the author of two autobiographies: His Eye is on the Sparrow (1951) and To Me It's Wonderful (1972).
Encyclopedia: Ethel Waters (1250 words)
Waters was born in Chester, Pennsylvania, the daughter of a twelve-year old mother who had been raped, and was raised in a violent, impoverished Philadelphia ward.
Waters obtained her first Harlem club job around 1919 at Edmond's Cellar, a typical club of the period and area patroned by a fl audience.
Ethel Waters was one of the most popular African-American singers and actresses of the 1920s.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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