Ethel Waters

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Birth Name: Ethel Waters
Born: 10/31/1896
Birth Place: Chester, Pennsylvania, USA
Death Place: Chatsworth, California, USA
Died: 09/01/1977

Her childhood surpassed Billie Holliday's in tragic, terrifying grit. Born out of wedlock, she grew up running errands for whores, being lookout for pimps and opium den operators and acquiring a tough facade that hid the wounded woman underneath. Billed as "Sweet Mama Stringbean", she survived backbreaking, nightmarish road tours in Jim Crow country, her experiences creating a dual nature of smooth exotique who sang refined songs and offstage holy terror whenever someone crossed her. The duality became distilled in vaudeville where Water's image was the tough, city flapper: a sexy tease who could be provocative but put men in their place at the same time. Waters' first forays into stage work... Continue Bio >>

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