- NAME: Fats Waller
- OCCUPATION: Songwriter, Pianist, Singer
- BIRTH DATE: May 21, 1904
- DEATH DATE: December 15, 1943
- Did You Know?: According to one colorful story, Fats Waller was kidnapped at gunpoint by Al Capone's henchmen and forced to perform at a birthday party for the mob boss.
- PLACE OF BIRTH: New York, New York
- PLACE OF DEATH: Kansas City, Missouri
- Full Name: Thomas Wright Waller
- Nickname: The Clown Prince of Jazz
- Nickname: Fats
- AKA: Thomas Waller
Best Known For
African-American pianist Fats Waller wrote such jazz standards as "Ain't Misbehavin'" and earned fame for his comedic radio performances in the 1930s.
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Waller returned to Hollywood early in 1943 to film Stormy Weather with Lena Horne and Bill Robinson. After returning to New York, he began writing songs for another revue, Early to Bed.
Fats Waller had maintained a heavy travel schedule into the 1940s, despite declining health, but the wear and tear eventually caught up with him. While returning home from another West Coast trip in late 1943, he contracted bronchial pneumonia,
an illness that silenced the beloved and influential jazz great for good during a stop in Kansas City, Missouri, on December 15, 1943.
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When musicians land big fame, there typically comes a moment of reinvention in which the "rock star" identity is born. This new persona often requires a new name, a way to differentiate between the private and public versions of themselves. Musical monikers take different forms, from the simple, last-name changes aimed at boosting celebrity appeal—like Steven Tyler—to the glamorized version of a childhood nickname—like Jay-Z. Musicians' nicknames and aliases tend to take on an identity all their own over time, often becoming as full of personality as the artists they represent.
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Jazz vocalists have made immeasurable contributions to the American songbook. Not only was Louis Armstrong renowned for his innovations as a trumpet soloist, but he also had a distinctive, gravelly voice that incorporated swing and humor. A host of other jazz singers enjoyed great popularity in the mid-20th century, including Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Lena Horne and Nina Simone. Several established careers in film and television as well. Contemporary artists like Harry Connick Jr. and Diana Krall continue to carry the musical baton.
Jazz Singers 18 people in this group
Famous Geminis 556 people in this group