Jazz icon Ella Fitzgerald’s voice is recognized by millions around the world. But few know about the help Marilyn Monroe gave her and that allowed her to become famous. Ella Fitzgerald herself said she “owe a real debt” to Marilyn.
During the ‘50s, one of the most popular club was Mocambo, in Hollywood. At that time it wan’t rare to find there people like Frank Sinatra, Clark Gable, Charlie Chaplin, Ava Gardner, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall tasting their drinks.
Fitzgerald was not allowed to play at Mocambo because of her race. Then, Marilyn made a phone call that completely changed the path of her career:
“I owe Marilyn Monroe a real debt. She personally called the owner of the Mocambo, and told him she wanted me booked immediately, and if he would do it, she would take a front table every night. She told him – and it was true, due to Marilyn’s superstar status – that the press would go wild.
The owner said yes, and Marilyn was there, front table, every night. The press went overboard. After that, I never had to play a small jazz club again. She was an unusual woman – a little ahead of her times. And she didn’t know it.”
Marilyn is known for her battles for civil rights. Later, she defended friend Montgomery Clift from the insults he received for being gay.