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 Connee Boswell

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Connee Boswell

  • Birth 3 Dec 1907 Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri, USA
  • Death 11 Oct 1976 New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
  • Burial Hartsdale, Westchester County, New York, USA
  • Plot Hillcrest J, Grave 227
  • Memorial ID 118

Jazz Singer, Actress. She was one of the "Boswell Sisters" singing trio. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, she grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana with her sisters Martha and Helvetia. There they learned to play numerous musical instruments, with Connee playing cello, piano, alto sax, trombone and guitar. At the age of three she contracted polio, which left her for sometime completely immobile. Slowly and painfully, she gradually recovered but was never able to walk again. When she was older, an accidental fall from a hotel window further damaged her back and leg. Connee lost what little mobility she had before and was confined to a wheel chair, although that fact was well covered up on stage. Due to a slight paralysis in her right wrist, it is reputed she had difficulty repeatedly dotting the "i" in Connie, so changed her name and signature to Connee. The Boswell Sisters began their singing careers in the vaudeville houses of New Orleans, also working at a local radio station, performing classical and semi-classical instrumentals. When the radio station gave them the opportunity to sing on a daily program, their careers took off. The trio's harmonious vocals with scatting, numerous key and tempo changes, quickly made them popular in New Orleans and beyond. During the 1920s, the sisters recorded several songs, but they didn't achieve popular recognition until 1930, when they moved to New York, New York, went on national radio and recorded 4 songs for the Okeh label. Between 1930 and 1936 they recorded more than 70 songs, many of their hits with the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra. At that time, they were considered the most popular vocal group in the country, appearing in several movies and regularly on Bing Crosby's radio program. Their rhythmic and creative vocal styling influenced future groups to come, most notably the Andrew Sisters and the King Sisters. The Boswell Sisters as an act broke up in 1936, when Martha and Helvetia married and retired. After her sisters retired, Connee, who had occasionally recorded solos, launched out on her own career. She never became a major star, but was fairly well known and worked steadily into the 1950s and 1960s. She appeared in some films and on the television show "Pete Kelly's Blues". Her last public appearance was in 1975, with the Benny Goodman Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. Jazz vocalist Ella Fitzgerald always stated that Connee Boswell was the singer who influenced her the most.

Bio by: Priscilla

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 118
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Connee Boswell (3 Dec 1907–11 Oct 1976), Find A Grave Memorial no. 118, citing Ferncliff Cemetery and Mausoleum, Hartsdale, Westchester County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .