celebrex side effects

How Marilyn Monroe changed Ella Fitzgerald’s life

22 Mar

If asked “Who  played an important role in the musical career of Ella Fitzgerald?” you might respond with names like Chick Webb, Louis Armstrong, Norman Granz, and Dizzy Gillespie.

The name Marilyn Monroe (who passed away 50 years ago this August), however, might not come to mind.

While touring in the ’50s under the management of Norman Granz, Ella, like many African-American musicians at the time, faced significant adversity because of her race, especially in the Jim Crow states. Granz was a huge proponent of civil rights, and insisted that all of his musicians be treated equally at hotels and venues, regardless of race.

Despite his efforts, there were many roadblocks and hurdles put in to place, especially for some of the more popular African-American artists. Here is one story of Ella’s struggles (as written in chicagojazz.com):

Once, while in Dallas touring for the Philharmonic, a police squad irritated by Norman’s principles barged backstage to hassle the performers. They came into Ella’s dressing room, where band members Dizzy Gillespie and Illinois Jacquet were shooting dice, and arrested everyone. “They took us down,” Ella later recalled, “and then when we got there, they had the nerve to ask for an autograph.”

Across the country, black musicians, regardless of popularity, were often limited to small nightclubs, having to enter through the back of the house. Similar treatment was common at restaurants and hotels.

Enter Marilyn Monroe

During the ’50s, one of the most popular venues was Mocambo in Hollywood. Frank Sinatra made his Los Angeles debut at Mocambo in 1943, and it was frequented by the likes of Clark Gable, Charlie Chaplin, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall and Lana Turner.

Ella Fitzgerald was not allowed to play at Mocambo because of her race. Then, one of Ella’s biggest fans made a telephone call that quite possibly changed the path of her career for good. Here, Ella tells the story of how Marilyn Monroe changed her life:

I owe Marilyn Monroe a real debt … 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.

Learning from Ella

Ella had an influence on Marilyn as well. Monroe’s singing had a tendency to be overshadowed by dress-lifting gusts of wind and the flirtatious “Happy Birthday, Mr. President,” not to mentions her movies and marriage to Joe DiMaggio. But years prior to the Mocambo phone call, Monroe was studying the recordings of Ella.

In fact, it was rumored that a vocal coach of Monroe instructed her to purchase Fitzgerald’s recordings of Gershwin music, and listen to it 100 times in a row.

Continued study of Ella actually turned Marilyn into a relatively solid singer for about a decade, but again became overlooked as her famous birthday tribute song to JFK in 1962 ends up being the vocal performance that is widely remembered.

Other Posts You Might Enjoy:

The FBI Files of Billie Holiday

The Most Famous Murder in Jazz

Jaki Byard Calls BS – A jazz reminiscence by Dick Stein

38 Responses to “How Marilyn Monroe changed Ella Fitzgerald’s life”

  1. Marilyn March 24, 2012 at 7:13 pm #

    Marilyn used to “go slummin’” (as they used to call it) in the black areas of town. Her managers/agents didn’t want her to because they thought it would be bad for her career for her to be seen in those parts but she didn’t care. She had no racial prejudices. She even spoke of an affair she had with a black man… in the 1940s! This is something not talked about a lot and I wish more people knew. she was his seat partner in UCLA night class. Apparently this man became the first black postmaster general of CA. (Anyone know who this is???)

    • James Winslow April 28, 2013 at 2:16 pm #

      This is a great story, but entirely accurate? I seem to recall four or five “black” singers at the Mocambo before the great and beautiful Ella.
      A similar story, which I got directly from the man, was about the NFL back in those old days, those good old days. This was the real founder of the NFL Players Asso. Mr. Kyle Rote was then captain and playing for the NY Giants. As they traveled to games the “black” players slept in seperate hotels, (for “blacks” only). Kyle Rote didn’t cotton to this and decided to stay in the “blacks” only hotels. This was the real basis for the formation of the NFL Players Association. I would like to think it also furthered that which is right. In his later years Mr. Rote supported many organizations. One whose work he greatly appreciated is Focus Adolescent Services, http://www.Focusas.com / He had his reasons and I have mine; they save American children and families. If your heart tells you, send them a gift at least to help support their free national help line.

  2. Janet May 19, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

    Sheila,Thank you so much for your transparency. I rebmmeer reading An Open Letter to my First Five Girlfriends at McSweeney’s. I wished for a letter from at least one of my first five boyfriends. You and Marilyn are certainly not alone.I had an experience reading about Marilyn and feeling better about myself. She and I have many of the same measurements. Bust, waist, hips, height, shoe size all the same. The biggest sex symbol of the last century has measurements considered fat by a huge swath of today’s society. When I’m tempted to feel fat(like when I read The Devil Wears Prada) I remind myself that I’m Marilyn’s size and feel instantly sexy. Take that Vogue!Jill

  3. Oscarosvaldo September 6, 2012 at 10:40 am #

    This is a quote I had never read before. It’s suisriprng wisdom from Marilyn Monroe, a memorable comedienne and actress but not usually remembered for philosophical contributions. Thanks for sharing it! / January 6th, 2011, 9:43 pm

  4. Fran Morris-Rosman April 5, 2013 at 8:56 am #

    We always are so happy when we see that folks still love Ella. And yes, she and Marilyn Monroe were friends. And yes, Ella did break a lot of barriers during her 50+ year career, with much of the credit going to her manager (and friend) Norman Granz. Norman refused to let his artists play to segregated houses. For more information, please see the fantastic biography of Norman written by Tad Hershron: “Norman Granz: The Man Who Used Jazz for Justice”.
    We also want to tell all of Ella’s fans that there is now an official Ella Fitzgerald Facebook Fan Page – lots of fun memories to share.

  5. Tony April 25, 2013 at 5:18 pm #

    Leslie N Shaw if it were true is the black gent who had the affair with Monroe. He was the first black post master in Ca as Oct 1st 1964.

  6. sc May 13, 2013 at 9:28 am #

    I give Marilyn her due for helping Ella, but I cant stand the thought that a bigot profited from this exchange.It would have been better if Marilyn made a deal to attend a club that did not discriminate and treated Ella with the respect she deserves.

  7. Black Pussy Pictures December 24, 2013 at 3:50 am #

    Black girls are very exotic and, they are a really different type of females.

    There are so numerous stereotypes linked with black women and, you will find the women extremely exciting.
    The ladies can be discovered in all parts of the world and, the most popular black ladies are African Americans.

    Black Pussy Pictures

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. You just never know… | Susan Campbell - April 9, 2012

    [...] Evidently, the fabulous Ella Fitzgerald had an earlier benefactor in Marilyn Monroe — who arranged for the jazz great to appear in an up-to-then segregated nightclub by promising to be at a front table every night. [...]

  2. Cheesy Song of the Day, April 24: ‘Can’t We Be Friends’ Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong | Tallulah Bankhead - April 24, 2012

    [...] Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong are telling the story of attraction turning into friendly affection instead of a full on robust love affair. I shrug because isn’t that the way it is — the guy you  like A LOT, sees you as a friend and the guy who likes you, you view as a friend.  I imagine people as molecules bumping into each other, but never attaching and forming new molecules. I don’t even know if molecules can do this but in my version of the world, they can.  And for days, months, years, there aren’t any molecules to attach to.  Or if there are molecules to attach to, the hold is too tenuous. But what if the can’t we be friends part is the middle? And the molecule/person that slipped away many moons ago is now stronger, surer, confident…..adhesive? What duet would Ella & Louis be singing? [...]

  3. Surprising Lessons from Marilyn Monroe and Ella Fitzgerald | Spectate - May 27, 2012

    [...] by Kat Liendgens Kat Liendgens 0 Comments Tweet The other day, I read a really cool article about how Marilyn Monroe changed Ella Fitzgerald’s life. Back in the 50’s, as Ella was touring, [...]

  4. My Blog » My Wordpress Blog » Ella Fitzgerald’s Love Of Fabulous Frocks - April 24, 2013

    [...] The jazz singer’s natural talent led to her joining the Tiny Bradshaw band, performing alongside the Chick Webb Orchestra and recording a jovial version of the nursery rhyme “A-Tisket, A-Tasket,” that went on to sell one million copies. Fitzgerald’s fame really took off and she weathered the civil rights era thanks to celebrity fans like Marilyn Monroe. [...]

  5. The Great Ella | Encyclopedia Virginia: The Blog - April 25, 2013

    [...] this photograph of Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe might seem a little random, but Monroe apparently helped Fitzgerald get booked at the whites-only Macombo Club in Hollywood. In return she promised to take a front table every [...]

  6. Jazz April Birthday #25: Ella Fitzgerald 1917-1996 | robinsnestjazz - April 25, 2013

    [...] interesting story about Marilyn Monroe and Ella can be found at Groovnotes.org. “A lot of singers think all they have to do is exercise their tonsils to get ahead. They [...]

  7. Una bionda sottovalutata | Una bionda … dentro - July 7, 2013

    [...] via: RdM and Groove Notes [...]

  8. How Marilyn Monroe Helped Change Ella Fitzgerald’s Life ‹ Beauty Exists - September 3, 2013

    [...] As if I couldn’t love Marilyn Monroe anymore…I come across this. [...]

  9. Ella and Marilyn | Rockdweller's Blog - September 14, 2013

    [...] How Marilyn Monroe changed Ella Fitzgerald’s life [...]

  10. The Retro-Nostalgic Vibe at The Viceroy Group’s Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills | Tracey-Land™ - October 22, 2013

    [...] RANDOM FUN FACT: Marilyn Monroe and Ella Fitzgerald were very good friends. Here’s why. [...]

  11. Washington Street Eats - April 2, 2014

    […] P.S. We cannot guarantee that Marilyn Monroe will attend, but she was a fan of big band music, particularly Ella Fitzgerald. […]

  12. 24 Simple Facts That Will Make You Feel Better About People | Sharing Interesting Stuff, Updates News & Free Tips - June 25, 2014

    […] Marilyn Monroe helped Ella Fitzgerald book her first gig at the legendary Mocambo night club by promising the manager […]

  13. あなたを人々について気分が前より良くさせる24の純然たる事実 | 可愛い動物 最新情報! - June 26, 2014

    […] 22. マリリン・モンロー助けられますエラ・フィッツジェラルドは、彼女が前列でテーブルを予約するとマネージャーに約束することによって、伝説的なMocamboナイトクラブで彼女の初のギグを予約します。 不用品回収/遺品整理/買取 長生郡長生村 […]

  14. あなたを人々について気分が前より良くさせる24の純然たる事実 | 可愛い動物ブログ! - June 26, 2014

    […] 22. マリリン・モンロー助けられますエラ・フィッツジェラルドは、彼女が前列でテーブルを予約するとマネージャーに約束することによって、伝説的なMocamboナイトクラブで彼女の初のギグを予約します。 […]

  15. あなたを人々について気分が前より良くさせる24の純然たる事実 | こんなに可愛いワンちゃん見たことない、ワンちゃん大好きブログ! - July 1, 2014

    […] 22. マリリン・モンロー助けられますエラ・フィッツジェラルドは、彼女が前列でテーブルを予約するとマネージャーに約束することによって、伝説的なMocamboナイトクラブで彼女の初のギグを予約します。 […]

  16. あなたを人々について気分が前より良くさせる24の純然たる事実 | 犬・犬・犬・ワン・ワンちゃん特集ブログ!世界の変わったワンちゃん達! - July 2, 2014

    […] 22. マリリン・モンロー助けられますエラ・フィッツジェラルドは、彼女が前列でテーブルを予約するとマネージャーに約束することによって、伝説的なMocamboナイトクラブで彼女の初のギグを予約します。 […]

  17. あなたを人々について気分が前より良くさせる24の純然たる事実 | 内の変わった犬ブログ・他の可愛いワンちゃんも載せてます! - July 2, 2014

    […] 22. マリリン・モンロー助けられますエラ・フィッツジェラルドは、彼女が前列でテーブルを予約するとマネージャーに約束することによって、伝説的なMocamboナイトクラブで彼女の初のギグを予約します。 […]

  18. あなたを人々について気分が前より良くさせる24の純然たる事実 | 究極の可愛さワンちゃん特集ブログ! - July 2, 2014

    […] 22. マリリン・モンロー助けられますエラ・フィッツジェラルドは、彼女が前列でテーブルを予約するとマネージャーに約束することによって、伝説的なMocamboナイトクラブで彼女の初のギグを予約します。 不用品回収/遺品整理/買取 千葉市美浜区 […]

  19. あなたを人々について気分が前より良くさせる24の純然たる事実 | 世界の可愛い猫ちゃん達!猫好きにはたまらないブログ(^-^) - July 2, 2014

    […] 22. マリリン・モンロー助けられますエラ・フィッツジェラルドは、彼女が前列でテーブルを予約するとマネージャーに約束することによって、伝説的なMocamboナイトクラブで彼女の初のギグを予約します。 […]

  20. あなたを人々について気分が前より良くさせる24の純然たる事実 | 可愛い動物ブログ! - July 7, 2014

    […] 22. マリリン・モンロー助けられますエラ・フィッツジェラルドは、彼女が前列でテーブルを予約するとマネージャーに約束することによって、伝説的なMocamboナイトクラブで彼女の初のギグを予約します。 不用品回収 板橋区 […]

  21. あなたを人々について気分が前より良くさせる24の純然たる事実 | ワンちゃん大好き・世界のワンちゃんブログ!癒されて下さい(^-^) - July 29, 2014

    […] 22. マリリン・モンロー助けられますエラ・フィッツジェラルドは、彼女が前列でテーブルを予約するとマネージャーに約束することによって、伝説的なMocamboナイトクラブで彼女の初のギグを予約します。 […]

  22. あなたを人々について気分が前より良くさせる24の純然たる事実 | 犬はなぜ癒すのか?徹底ワンちゃん研究所!(^-^) - July 30, 2014

    […] 22. マリリン・モンロー助けられますエラ・フィッツジェラルドは、彼女が前列でテーブルを予約するとマネージャーに約束することによって、伝説的なMocamboナイトクラブで彼女の初のギグを予約します。 […]

  23. あなたを人々について気分が前より良くさせる24の純然たる事実 | 犬好き必見!世界の変わった犬とその仕草、可愛すぎ特集(^-^) - July 30, 2014

    […] 22. マリリン・モンロー助けられますエラ・フィッツジェラルドは、彼女が前列でテーブルを予約するとマネージャーに約束することによって、伝説的なMocamboナイトクラブで彼女の初のギグを予約します。 […]

  24. あなたを人々について気分が前より良くさせる24の純然たる事実 | ワンワン大集合!特集ブログ。 犬好きは一度は見て下さい(^-^) - August 25, 2014

    […] 22. マリリン・モンロー助けられますエラ・フィッツジェラルドは、彼女が前列でテーブルを予約するとマネージャーに約束することによって、伝説的なMocamboナイトクラブで彼女の初のギグを予約します。 […]

  25. あなたを人々について気分が前より良くさせる24の純然たる事実 | 犬ってなんでこんなに可愛いんだろう?世界のワンちゃんの可愛い特集ブログだよ~(*^_^*) - September 17, 2014

    […] 22. マリリン・モンロー助けられますエラ・フィッツジェラルドは、彼女が前列でテーブルを予約するとマネージャーに約束することによって、伝説的なMocamboナイトクラブで彼女の初のギグを予約します。 […]

  26. あなたを人々について気分が前より良くさせる24の純然たる事実 | 世界の珍しいワンちゃんと・癒される仕草特集!可愛すぎます。 - September 18, 2014

    […] 22. マリリン・モンロー助けられますエラ・フィッツジェラルドは、彼女が前列でテーブルを予約するとマネージャーに約束することによって、伝説的なMocamboナイトクラブで彼女の初のギグを予約します。 […]

  27. あなたを人々について気分が前より良くさせる24の純然たる事実 | ワンワン大集合!特集ブログ。 犬好きは一度は見て下さい(^-^) - September 26, 2014

    […] 22. マリリン・モンロー助けられますエラ・フィッツジェラルドは、彼女が前列でテーブルを予約するとマネージャーに約束することによって、伝説的なMocamboナイトクラブで彼女の初のギグを予約します。 売上UP専門:ホームページ・アプリ・システム開発のEPION […]

  28. あなたを人々について気分が前より良くさせる24の純然たる事実 | 犬ってなんでこんなに可愛いんだろう?世界のワンちゃんの可愛い特集ブログだよ~(*^_^*) - November 3, 2014

    […] 22. マリリン・モンロー助けられますエラ・フィッツジェラルドは、彼女が前列でテーブルを予約するとマネージャーに約束することによって、伝説的なMocamboナイトクラブで彼女の初のギグを予約します。 不用品回収/遺品整理/買取 清瀬市 […]

  29. あなたを人々について気分が前より良くさせる24の純然たる事実 | 犬はなぜ癒すのか?徹底ワンちゃん研究所!(^-^) - November 9, 2014

    […] 22. マリリン・モンロー助けられますエラ・フィッツジェラルドは、彼女が前列でテーブルを予約するとマネージャーに約束することによって、伝説的なMocamboナイトクラブで彼女の初のギグを予約します。 不用品回収/遺品整理/買取 千葉市若葉区 […]

  30. あなたを人々について気分が前より良くさせる24の純然たる事実 | ワンワン大集合!特集ブログ。 犬好きは一度は見て下さい(^-^) - November 11, 2014

    […] 22. マリリン・モンロー助けられますエラ・フィッツジェラルドは、彼女が前列でテーブルを予約するとマネージャーに約束することによって、伝説的なMocamboナイトクラブで彼女の初のギグを予約します。 不用品回収/遺品整理/買取 北区 […]

Leave a Reply

Switch to our mobile site