Fitzgerald, Ella (1917 - 1996)
Marilyn’s favorite female singer, and one of the greatest of all jazz voices, known at the height of her career as “The First Lady of Song.” Discovered at sixteen, Ella was a world renowned singer for over half a century. Marilyn was an avid listener, with a more than passing interest in Ella’s remarkable clarity and phrasing. Music coach Hal Schaefer recalled that Marilyn “loved to sing, she sand well, and she just adored her idol, Ella. The most important influence on Marilyn’s vocal art was, in fact, a recording I gave her called ‘Ella Sings Gershwin.’”
Marilyn had an opportunity to show her appreciation in a unique way. Ella told the story in an August 1972 article in MS magazine:
“I owe Marilyn Monroe a real debt. It was because of her that I played Mocambo [an L.A. club]. She personally called the owner of the Mocambo, and told him she wanted me booked immediately, and if he would do it, she would take a front table every night. She told him - and it was true, due to Marilyn’s superstar status - that the press would go wild. The owner said yes, and Marilyn was there, front table, every night. The press went overboard….After that, I never had to play a small jazz club again. She was an unusual woman - a little ahead of her times. And she didn’t know it.”
- The Marilyn Encyclopedia by Adam Victor.
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