Ella Jane Fitzgerald, 25 April 1917, Newport News, Virginia, USA, d. 15 June 1996, Beverly Hills, California, USA. Following the disappearance of her father, Fitzgerald was taken to Yonkers, New York by her mother and her new man Joseph da Silva. At school she sang with a glee club and showed early promise, but preferred dancing to singing. Even so, chronic shyness militated against her chances of succeeding as an entertainer. Nevertheless, she entered a talent contest at the famous Apollo Theatre in Harlem as a dancer, but owing to last-minute nerves, after discovering that the Edwards Sisters (a popular dance act) were also on the bill, she was unable to dance and decided to sing. Her unexpected success winning this talent night prompted her to enter other talent contests, and she began to win frequently enough to persevere with her singing. Eventually, she reached the top end of the talent show circuit, singing at the Harlem Opera House where she was heard by...
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