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Ethel Waters ACTOR


Ethel Waters was born on October 31st, 1896 in Chester, Pennsylvania due to her mother being raped and becoming pregnant at the young age of thirteen.  She had a unpleasant upbringing and never lived in one secure place for more then a fifteen month period.  She was mostly raised by her maternal grandmother on and off.  Waters first sang in public at the age of five in a children's church program.  
She married at the young age of thirteen, but soon escaped the life of an abusive husband and went to work as a hotel room cleaner in Philadelphia.  One night upon attending a Halloween party she sang two songs in front of the guests and everyone was so impressed with her signing voice she was offered employment at the Lincoln Theatre in Baltimore, Maryland. 
Directly following her stage signing debut she was offered a job to tour the black vaudeville circuit.  She soon headed for Atlanta working in a nightclub and then moved again to Harlem during the 1920's working as a performer in the Harlem Renaissance.

By 1921, she was making her first blues record and became amongst one of the only 5 black woman to have a music record.  She began recording with Black Swan from 1921 to 1923 and then Paramount bought the Black Swan label in 1924.  She followed this with recording an album with Columbia records in 1925.  Her song "Dinah" became a hit and was voted a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1998.
By the early 1930's, Waters had already produced fifty song hits.  She was being nicknamed, Sweet Mama Stringbean and in 1932 even though her career was very successful with Columbia she then chose to sign a contract with Brunswick in 1932.  She only remained with them for one year, before returning right back to Columbia.
Waters made a all black film titled, "Rufus Jones for President" (1933) which she co starred with Sammy Davis Jr.  Along with a musical recording career and successful film career, she continued to work on stage starring in the Broadway musical revue, "As Thousands Cheer" (1933) being the first black woman in an all white cast.
She continued to work film, stage and nightclub gigs and added radio to her resume.  Ethel was the highest paid performer on Broadway.  In 1949, she was nominated for an Academy award for her role in the film, "Pinky" starring with Jeanne Crain, Ethel Barrymore, Nina Mae McKinney, Arthur Hunnicutt, Basil Ruysdael and William Lundigan, followed by winning the New York Drama Critics Award in the play, "The Member of the Wedding" (1950). 

Ethel appeared in one of the classic All Black Cast films is "Cabin in the Sky" (1943) starring with Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson, Lena Horne, Louis Armstrong, Rex Ingram and Duke Ellington.         
As her career progressed into the early 1950's, her health was declining and roles were becoming less available to her.  She took the time to write to autobiographies, "His Eye is on the Sparrow" (1950-1951) and "To Me, It's Wonderful".  In 1968, Universal Pictures announced to the public that it would be making a screen version of her autobiography, "The Eye of the Sparrow", however sadly they never proceeded with this idea.
Ethel Waters as married three times throughout her life.  First to Merritt Purnsley from 1910 to 1911, then to Mathews, Clyde Edward from 1929 through 1934 and her third and final marriage was to an Orchestra leader, Ed Mallory from 1938 through September 1st, 1977 when she passed away on September 1st, 1977 in Chatsworth, California from heart disease.  She never had any children during her lifetime. 
Waters was honored on a U.S. Postal Service stamp issued on September 1st, 1994 as part of the Legends of American Music Series.  Ethel also had a total of three of her recordings inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, "Dinah" (1925), "Stormy Weather" (1933) and "Am I Blue" (1929).  Waters also won a Joseph Jefferson Award as Best Guest Artist in a Locally Produced Play in 1970 for her performance in, "The Member of the Wedding".     


1972   Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law 
1970   Daniel Boone
1967   Vacation Playhouse
1963   The Great Adventure
1961   Route 66
1959   Whirlybirds
1959   The Sound and the Fury  
1958   The Heart Is a Rebel  
1957   Matinee Theatre 
1957   Carib Gold 
1956   Saturday Spectacular: Manhattan Tower
1955   Playwrights '56 
1955   G.E. True Theater
1955   Climax!
1952   The Member of the Wedding  
1952   The Jackie Gleason Show 
1949   Pinky
1943   Cabin in the Sky  
1942   Cairo  
1942   Tales of Manhattan 
1939   Let My People Live 
1934   Gift of Gab  
1934   Bubbling Over
1933   Rufus Jones for President
1929   On with the Show

Matinee Classics - Bubbling Over starring Ethel Waters
Matinee Classics - Cabin in the Sky starring Ethel Waters, Eddie ' Rochester' Anderson, Lena Horne, Louis Armstrong, Rex Ingram, Mantan Moreland, Willie Best, Butterfly McQueen, Nick Stewart and Duke Ellington
Matinee Classics - Pinky starring Jeanne Crain, Ethel Barrymore, Ethel Waters, William Lundigan, Basil Ruysdael, Kenny Washington, Nina Mae McKinney, Griff Barnett, Frederick O'Neal, Evelyn Varden, Raymond Greenleaf and Arthur Hunnicutt
Matinee Classics - Rufus Jones for President starring Ethel Waters, Sammy Davis Jr., Hamtree Harrington, Dusty Fletcher, Edgar Connor, The Will Vodery Girls and The Russell Woodling's Jubilee Singers
Matinee Classics - Rufus Jones for President starring Ethel Waters, Sammy Davis Jr., Hamtree Harrington, Dusty Fletcher, Edgar Connor, The Will Vodery Girls and The Russell Woodling's Jubilee Singers
Matinee Classics - The Beulah Show starring Ethel Waters, Louise Beavers and Hattie McDaniel as Beulah
Matinee Classics - The Beulah Show starring Ethel Waters as Beulah

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