On July 11, 1927, she made her New York stage debut in Africana at Daly's Theatre. Her career continued to escalate in such black shows as The Blackbirds of 1928 (and 1930) and Rhapsody in Black. In 1939 she was acclaimed in Mamba's Daughters, which role gave Ms. Waters the distinction of being the first black actress to star on Broadway in a dramatic play. Her Broadway career continued its spectacular ascent with such hit shows as At Home Abroad and Cabin in the Sky. In 1950, Ms. Waters once again made theatrical history as she took on the lead role of the Broadway smash-hit The Member of the Wedding. In 1929, she made her film debut in the new talking films, singing "Am I Blue?" and "Birmingham Bertha" in On with the Show, remade a few years later as Forty-Second Street. In 1933, her sensational rendition of "Stormy Weather" at the Cotton Club made her the talk of the town. Ms. Water's last years were spent touring with the evangelist Billy Graham, still performing occasionally, until her death on September 2, 1977, at the age of 80 in Chatsworth, California.
This advertisement appeared in the Chicago Defender, the nation's most widely read black newspaper. "Ethel Waters," advertisement, Chicago Defender, Nov. 5, 1921, p. 7.
"When I first went on the stage I was 17 and under the legal age for performers." Ethel Waters
"I have reason to be shy. I've been hurt plenty. "Ethel Waters
"I had a sweet, bell-like voice. However, I seldom depended on my voice to win social recognition." Ethel Waters
"Asking what I considered an impossible salary when I didn't want to work for someone has boosted my pay again and again." Ethel Waters
"I could always open shows, perform through the middle, and close shows." Ethel Waters
"I've never been able to feel that there is anything undignified about making your living by the sweat of your brow." Ethel Waters
Ethel Waters and Eddie Rochester Anderson in 'Cabin in the Sky.' (1943)
"I know the most terrible thing that can happen to a woman. That is the gang-up. Men put you to sleep with their drops and one man after another goes in and takes you. "Ethel Waters
"I want affection and tenderness desperately, but there's something in me that prevents me from handing it out." Ethel Waters
"I never posed as a saint. I would have slept with a man for nothing if I liked him well enough." Ethel Waters
"All the men in my life have been two things: an epic and an epidemic." Ethel Waters
Ethel Waters, Brandon de Wilde, Julie Harris(film debut)
Member of the Wedding
Director: Fred Zinnemann1952
"Though I was a Catholic, I recognized that Protestant churches had something." Ethel Waters
"I never neglect to pray to my God before I step out there. "Ethel Waters
"Somehow, the things my mother wanted to do, the release in evangelism she sought with such frenzy, were transferred to me." Ethel Waters
"I wondered what I would do if I didn't have my God to turn to and be able to read the Book He had divinely inspired." Ethel Waters
"It has been an ache and a joy both to look over this big shoulder of mine at all my yesterdays." Ethel Waters
I have just finished reading To Me It's Wonderful by Ethel Waters(1972) and I found the book to be an open, honest and compelling autobiography. She also has another book His Eye Is on the Sparrow(1950) .
It's very late and I have a busy morning ahead of me, I am off to bed. Goodnight Everyone! Comments are always appreciated.
N Posted by Rain at 8/29/2006 12:23:00 AM