Dec. 25, 1907 Rochester Monroe County New York, USA
Nov. 18, 1994 Hockessin New Castle County Delaware, USA
Jazz Singer. One of the premier entertainers in Jazz. Cabell (Cab) Calloway was born on December 25th, 1907 in Rochester, New York. Growing up in Baltimore, he began singing as a teenager. While attending law school in Chicago, he realized that entertainment was his calling and became a bandleader. His first stage appearance was in the Plantation Days show at the Loop Theatre. He then worked with "The Missourians" in New York, in 1928. In spring of 1929, he returned to Chicago and acted as the master of ceremonies and vocalist with "The Alabamians". Later that year, he returned to New York and appeared on stage with the "Hot Chocolate Revue", hitting the big time when he introduced Fats Waller's song "Ain't Misbehavin" on Broadway in 1928. In 1930, he took over "The Missourians", eventually changing the name to Cab Calloway and His Orchestra. He became nationally known as a bandleader and star attraction at Harlem's famed Cotton Club in 1931, and recorded "Minnie the Moocher" that year, which would become a trademark song that would remain his theme for his entire life. He soon after emerged as the irrepressible leader of a band that succeeded Duke Ellington at the Cotton Club. He became known as "The man in the zoot suit with the reet pleats," who brought a whole new slang vocabulary to the nation along with his own brand of music via early radio broadcasts and extensive touring in the 1930s and 40s. His career did not stop with singing. He was on Broadway and the London stage with "Porgy and Bess" doing the character of "Sportin' Life" which he says was based on him. He also had a starring role with Pearl Bailey in all-black Broadway revival of "Hello Dolly". His movie career spanned four decades including "Stormy Weather" (with Lena Horne), "The Cincinnati Kid" and "The Blues Brothers", which introduced him to a whole new audience. He even dazzled Janet Jackson in her music video in 1988. He appeared in numerous musical shorts and a few full-length pictures, with a gleam in his eye and sporting a devilish grin. As a further testament to his popularity, the "King of Hi De Ho" was still delighting audiences on stage and screen well into the 1980's. He died in a nursing home in Delaware on November 18, 1994, from complications of a stroke.