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Ethel Waters

October 31, 1896 – September 1, 1977

Born in Chester, Pennsylvania, and married at the age of 13, Ethel Waters overcame a childhood of abuse and poverty to become a jazz and gospel singer and actress, with a career spanning five decades. Waters toured on the black vaudeville circuit until 1919, when she moved to Harlem, and began her recording career. In 1929, she recorded “Am I Blue,” which became a hit, and her signature song. Her film career began the same year, but she is best known for her Academy Award-nominated role in Pinky (1949), and for the 1952 film reprisal of her NY Drama Critics Circle Award-winning performance (1950) in A Member of the Wedding. She was the second African-American to be nominated for an Academy Award, and the first African-American woman to be nominated for an Emmy (1962) for her performance in Route 66. On Jan. 8, 1954, Waters was interviewed in this house by Edward R. Murrow for his live television show "Person to Person," which focused on the careers, as well as personal lives, of celebrities.

190 New York Avenue, Brooklyn
New York, NY 11216

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