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Pearl Mae Bailey
Birth: Mar. 29, 1918
Southampton County
Virginia, USA
Death: Aug. 17, 1990
Philadelphia
Philadelphia County
Pennsylvania, USA

Singer, Actress, and Author. She was a vocalist with various popular bands, including Count Basie and Cootie Williams bands. Born in Southampton County in southeastern Virginia, she grew up in Newport News, Virginia. At the age of 15, she made her stage-singing debut when she entered and won an amateur contest at the Pearl Theater in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After winning a similar contest at the Harlem Apollo Theater in New York City, New York, she decided to pursue a career in the entertainment business. She began singing and dancing in Philadelphia's black nightclubs in the 1930s, and soon started performing in other parts of the East Coast. In 1941, during World War II, she toured the country with the United Service Organization, performing for American troops, settling in New York City after the tour, where her solo successes as a nightclub performer was followed by acts with such entertainers as Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington. In 1946 she made her Broadway debut in "St. Louis Woman." In 1947 she made her film debut with "Variety Girl," followed by "Isn't It Romantic" (1948). She continued to tour and record albums in between her stage and screen performances and in the early 1950s, when television was first getting started, she guest starred on CBS's "Faye Emerson's Wonderful Town." In 1954 she played the role of 'Frankie' in the film version of "Carmen Jones," with her rendition of "Beat Out That Rhythm on the Drum" being one of the highlights of the film. She also starred in the Broadway musical "House of Flowers" that opened in late December 1954. In 1959 she played the role of 'Maria' in the film version of "Porgy and Bess," starring Sidney Poitier and Dorothy Dandridge. That same year, she played the role of 'Aunt Hagar' in the film "St. Louis Blues," with Mahalia Jackson, Eartha Kitt, and Nat King Cole, followed by "All the Fine Young Cannibals" (1960) and "The Landlord" (1970). In 1967 she and Cab Calloway headlined an all-black cast version of "Hello, Dolly!" and the touring version was so successful, producer David Merrick took it to Broadway where it played to sold-out houses and revitalized the long running musical. She was given a special Tony Award for her role and RCA Records made a second original cast album, the only recording of the score to have an overture which was written especially for that recording. During the 1970s she had her own television show, "The Pearl Bailey Show," that aired on ABC from 1970 to 1971, and also loaned her voice for animations such as Tubby the Tuba (1976) and Disney's The Fox and the Hound (1981). In 1970, President Richard M. Nixon assigned her as a special representative, US delegation to United Nations, as "America's Ambassador of Love." She returned to Broadway in 1975 and played the lead in the 2nd all-black production of "Hello, Dolly!." In 1977 she received a Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award. In 1985 she earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in theology from Georgetown University in Washington DC. She was awarded the New York City's Bronze Medallion in 1968 and a Presidential Medal of Freedom in October 1988. During her career, she recorded 30 albums. She also wrote several books, "The Raw Pearl" (1968 autobiography), "Talking to Myself" (1971 autobiography), and "Pearl's Kitchen: An Extraordinary Cookbook" (1973). She died of arteriosclerotic coronary artery disease in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the age of 72. (bio by: William Bjornstad) 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Louis Paul Bellson (1924 - 2009)*
 
 Children:
  Dee Dee Jean Bellson (1960 - 2009)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Rolling Green Memorial Park
West Chester
Chester County
Pennsylvania, USA
Plot: Meditation Garden, Lot D, Grave 16
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Jan 01, 2001
Find A Grave Memorial# 1663
Pearl Mae Bailey
Added by: Ron Moody
 
Pearl Mae Bailey
Added by: Scott Michaels
 
Pearl Mae Bailey
Added by: Autistic Wonderboy
 
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Christmas Blessings! Love and prayers
- YAM
 Added: Dec. 25, 2014
Love and prayers
- YAM
 Added: Nov. 27, 2014
Happy Thanksgiving
- Stasia K
 Added: Nov. 27, 2014
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