Singer Performers

Great singers seldom limit themselves to a single art. Many become actors, and not simply with walk-on parts; they become Academy Award winners like Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, or a No. 1 box office star like Doris Day. Fred Astaire was the country’s greatest dancer but he was a talented singer. Lena Horne and Nancy Wilson acted some, but their great achievement was mastering live performances. Pearl Bailey performed on Broadway and was the first African American to play the title role in “Dolly.” And Julie London had a second career as a television actress. It’s no surprise that a great singer would also be a talented actor. To put across the meaning of lyrics, they had to approach a song as a script to a dramatic vignette.

Image of Fred AstaireFRED ASTAIRE (1899 –1987) was a dancer, actor, singer,
choreographer, and television presenter.  His most memorable dancing partnership was with Ginger Rogers, with whom he co-starred in ten Hollywood musicals. The American Film Institute named Astaire the fifth-greatest male star of Classic Hollywood cinema in 100 Years.

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Image of Lena HorneLena Horne (1917–2010) was a dancer, actress and singer, her career spanning over 70 years. She started as a dancer at the legendary Cotton Club as a teenager and moved on from there. She was known for her beauty and appeared in several movies. She was also a fierce advocate for Civil Rights.

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Image of Pearl Bailey

Pearl Bailey (1918–1990) was an actress and singer, starting in vaudeville, and on to Broadway, television, and movies winning many awards such as the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award in 1976 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom on October 17, 1988.

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Image of Julie LondonJulie London (1926–2000) was a torch singer and actress noted for her sultry, languid contralto vocals. She recorded over thirty albums of pop and jazz standards between 1955 and 1969. She had a huge hit with "Cry Me a River."

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Image of Nancy WilsonNancy Wilson (1937–2018 )was a soulful and dynamic jazz singer whose crisp, intricate phrasing helped her cross over into the pop and adult contemporary markets. She hosted the NPR radio series “Jazz Profiles” (1995-2002).

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