mocambo nightclub

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Dorothy Dandridge and a Phil Moore looking at their names outside of the Mocambo nightclub (1951). When asked about Dottie, Phil once said: “Dorothy was very dear to me. Her life was like an apple that looked so beautiful, but when you but into it, it was rotten. Here was a lovely girl in a wonderful home, getting integrated parts in movies, at a time when even Lena was only given roles that could be cut out in the South. But Dorothy’s famous marriage -to one of the Nicholas Brothers- had gone bad, and she had a retarded child. I helped switch the lack of self-assurance, the negative forces in her, into a positive.” He helped Dottie create an image of a classy, sexy songstress. Phil and Dorothy were romantically involved for a period of time. They even shared a home together on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. Phil often talked about how Marilyn Monroe would get him into trouble with Dorothy. He’d be in his studio trying to shave, and Marilyn would be hanging around when Dorothy would be coming up the back steps. She would ask: “Well, do you do this with all your clients?” And let me clarify, Dorothy and Marilyn were FRIENDS. There was no animosity or “beef” between them.

Black history month day 16: Jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald.

Ella Fitzgerald was born April 25, 1917, in Newport News, Virginia. She moved to New York with her mother in the early 1920s, and lived in a poor predominately Italian neighborhood. She was a gifted student and had a passion for performance, most especially singing and dancing. She got some of her first musical training at her church. She grew up listening to jazz music recordings of Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, and the Boswell Sisters. She especially idolized the lead singer of the Boswell Sisters, Connee.

After losing her mother to a car accident at the age of 15, and moving away from her possibly abusive stepfather, Fitzgerald lived with her aunt and skipped school, sometimes working as a lookout for a mafia affiliate. She was caught by the law and sent to a reform school in Hudson. Eventually she escaped and was homeless for time.

Fitzgerald survived for a few years singing on the streets of Harlem, and her first major debut was singing during amateur night at the Apollo theater. She got a major break when she met bandleader Chick Webb, and began performing with his band. After Webb died, Ella took over the band and toured with them for some time.

Fitzgerald started her solo career in 1942 and performed with artists such as Bill Kenny & the Ink Spots, Louis Jordan, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, and the Delta Rhythm Boys. On March 15, 1955, she performed at the Mocambo nightclub in Hollywood at the behest of her friend Marylyn Monroe.

Critics came to know Ella as sort of a reverse Elvis, a black woman popularizing songs written by immigrant Jews for a largely white Christian audience. She was prolific in her career of solo hits and collaborations, and had many well respected live performances and friendships with jazz stars white and black, including Bing Crosby, Peggy Lee, Dizzy Gillespie, Dike Ellington, and Frank Sinatra.

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Mocambo opened in 1941, and became an immediate success. The club’s Latin American-themed decor cost $100,000. Along the walls were glass cages holding live cockatoos, macaws, seagulls, pigeons, and parrots. With big band music, the club became one of the most popular dance-till-dawn spots in town.
In 1943, when Frank Sinatra became a solo act, he made his Los Angeles debut at the Mocambo.
In the mid 1950s, Ella Fitzgerald became the first black performer at the Mocambo, after Marilyn Monroe lobbied the owner for the booking.
The club’s main stage was replicated on the TV series I Love Lucy as the “Tropicana” Club.
The Mocambo closed in 1959. The site is now a parking lot for a Burger King restaurant that features artwork from the interior of the original building.

beautiful-wallflower-darling  asked:

What good things did marylin do?

Omg where do I even start! 

Here is a list of her charitable works from The Marilyn Encyclopedia:

Marilyn donated time and/or money to:

  • A 1953 benefit for underprivileged children at Jude’s Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee—singing with Jane Russell at the Hollywood Bowl.
  • WAIF—an organization that placed abandoned children in homes, after Jane Russell enlisted Marilyn’s help in 1955.
  • The Arthritis and Rheumatism Foundation in 1955—astride a pink elephant at a benefit given by Mike Todd’s Circus at Madison Square Garden, New York. [x]
  • The Milk Fund For Babies in 1957—Marilyn decided to give earnings from the world premiere of The Prince and the Showgirl to this charity.
  • Marilyn was one of the models in the 1958 March of Dimes fashion parade, that aided children with polio—held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. [x]
  • A children’s welfare organization that gave free breakfasts to underprivileged youngsters—a donation of $1000.
  • An orphanage Marilyn visited during her 1962 trip to Mexico—she ripped up her initial check of $1000 and donated $10,000. That night was one of the few nights in her life that she recalled sleeping without the aid of sleeping pills.
  • S.A.N.E.—an organization dedicated to eliminating nuclear weapons.
  • A muscular dystrophy benefit held at Chavez Ravin Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, on her 36th birthday—This was Marilyn’s last public appearance. [x]
  • Marilyn’s final donation to charity was the biggest. In her last will, she left 25% of her estate (after provisions for her mother and legacies for some friends) to a former psychiatrist, Dr. Marianne Kris, “to be used for the futherance of the work of such psychiatric institutions or groups as she shall elect.” Knowing Marilyn’s enormous love for children, Kris chose the Anna Freud Children’s Clinic of London. This behest has been used to set up the Monroe Young Family Centre, in Daleham Gardens, London.
  • Among friends and colleagues, Marilyn was known for her generosity in helping people wherever she could; stand-in Evelyn Moriarty remembers Marilyn making an anonymous donation of $1000 to a crew member on Let’s Make Love (1960) who needed the money to cover funeral expenses for his wife.

And here are some things I remembered off the top of my head:

  • She also visited an orphanage in New Jersey in 1952. [x]
  • In 1954, during her honeymoon with Joe DiMaggio in Japan, Marilyn visited an army hospital. [x] She also went to Korea to perform for over 100,000 U.S. troops within four days. She wore a tight sequined dress despite the sub zero temperatures because she knew that the men haven’t seen a woman in a while. She regarded this as one of the happiest times in her life and one of the highlights of her career. [x]
  • Also in 1954, Marilyn was a fan of Ella Fitzgerald and called the Mocambo club asking if she could perform there. (The real reason the club wouldn’t hire Ella is because they felt she wasn’t glamorous enough, not because she was African American). Here is what Ella said about it: “I owe Marilyn Monroe a real debt. It was because of her that I played the Mocambo, a very popular nightclub in the ’50s. 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.”

Here are some stories I have posted in the past:

  • Fan experiences/young people [x] [x] [x] [x]
  • Feelings for animals [x] [x] [x] [x] [x]

Because Marilyn was type-casted, the public often saw her as a dumb blonde which she was the exact opposite of. She had a personal library of 400+ books and attended a semester of literature classes at UCLA. Wanting to break out of the dumb blonde roles, she left Fox (very rebellious!) and created Marilyn Monroe Productions (being one of the first women to create their own production company!) while also attending the Actors Studio and taking private acting lessons with Lee Strasberg. Marilyn was very determined to be a great actress and not settle for the studio’s mistreatment.

I also think it’s important to mention that she was sexually liberated in a time when sex wasn’t really acceptable to talk about openly (or rather, people weren’t comfortable talking about it):

“Look, I’m a woman. Sex is part of nature, and I’m part of nature. I don’t understand all the whispers about the subject. I don’t do anything that’s wrong—I just behave as a female. What’s wrong with that?”

However, while being sexually liberated, she would call out “wolves.” She hated men who were disrespectful to women, thinking they could wine and dine a woman only to use them for sex and those who promised starlets better roles if they slept with them:

“There were times when I’d be with one of my husbands and I’d run into one of these hollywood heels at a party and they’d paw me cheaply in front of everybody as if they were saying, ‘oh, we had her.’ I guess it’s the classic situation of an ex-whore, though I was never a whore in that sense. I was never kept; I always kept myself.”

"Men who tried to buy me with money made me sick. There were plenty of them. The mere fact that I turned down offers ran my price up…I didn’t take their money, and they couldn’t get by my front door, but I kept riding in their limousines and sitting beside them in swanky places. There was always a chance another wolf might spot you.”

“I think I had many problems as the next starlet keeping the Hollywood wolves from my door. These wolves just could not understand me. They would tell me, ‘But Marilyn, you’re not playing the game the way you should. Be smart. You’ll never get anywhere in this business acting the way you do.’ My answer to them would be, ‘The only acting I’ll do is for the camera.’ I was determined, no one was going to use me or my body—even if he could help my career. I’ve never gone out with a man I didn’t want to. No one, not even the studio, could force me to date someone. The one thing I hate more than anything else is being used. I’ve always worked hard for the sake of someday becoming a talented actress. I knew I would make it someday if I only kept at it and worked hard without lowering my principles and pride in myself.”

I might be forgetting some things, so if anyone has anything important to add you can reply below or reblog with your additions!

“I owe Marilyn Monroe a real debt…  It was because of her that I played the Mocambo, a very popular nightclub in the ’50s.  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.” - Ella Fitzgerald

Not just a pretty face and ahead of her time.  Happy belated birthday, Norma Jean.

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ELLA FITZGERALD - THE RACISM SHE FACED IN THE 50’S

Apparently in the 1950s, a popular nightclub, Mocambo would not book Ella Fitzgerald because she was black. Fortunately for Ella, she had a powerful and unlikely benefactor, Marilyn Monroe.

“I owe Marilyn Monroe a real debt…it was because of her that I played the ‘Mocambo’, a very popular nightclub in the ’50s. She personally called the owner of the Mocambo, and told him she wanted me booked immediately, and if he would do it, she promised 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 - and ahead of her time and she didn’t know it.” - Ella Fitzgerald

“I owe Marilyn Monroe a real debt…it was because of her that I played the Mocambo, a very popular nightclub in the ’50s. 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.” - Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe at the Mocambo Nightclub, 1955.

“I owe Marilyn Monroe a real debt… it was because of her that I played the Mocambo, a very popular nightclub in the ‘50s. She personally called the owner of the club, 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.”

Ella on Marilyn.

youtube

Marilyn Monroe - Ella Fitzgerald and the Mocambo Nightclub 1:06

Ella Fitzgerald said “I owe Marilyn Monroe a real debt. It’s because of her that I played Mocambo. 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 and Marilyn was there, front table,every night” MS magazine.