Singer. She made a successful transition from jazz music to bebop and paved the way for many female vocalists. Born Anita Belle Colton, in Chicago, Illinois, she was raised following her parent's separation and at the age of fourteen, she left home in search of a better life. She supported herself as a dancer of a touring Walk-a-thon and following her return to Chicago two years later, she landed a singing engagement at a local nightclub. While there she was spotted by bandleader Gene Krupa who gave her a job as a vocalist with his ensemble in 1941. This led to stints with Woody Herman and Stan Kenton. During the 1950s, she reached the pinnacle of her career as a solo artist. After signing with the Verve record label, she recorded her debut album "This Is Anita" (1955) and went onto release several more. She made an impressionable appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival and her performances of "Sweet Georgia Brown" and "Tea For Two" were capture in the documentary film "Jazz on a Summer's Day" (1958). Her life took an ugly turn during the 1960s, as she coped with a heroin addiction which nearly took her life. She was able to overcome this habit and resume her singing career. In 1981, she published her autobiography "High Times, Hard Times" which recounted her struggle with heroin.
Bio by: C.S.