Tony winning singer and actress Pearl Bailey died August 17, 1990. She was 72.
Bailey was born March 29, 1918 in Newport News, Virginia. She won a talent contest for her singing at age 15, and by the 1940’s, she was appearing in New York nightclubs.
She became famous in both the United States and England, singing such songs as Toot Toot Tootsie Goodbye, St. Louis Blues, and Bill Bailey, Won’t You Please Come Home.
Bailey made her debut on Broadway in St. Louis Woman, garnering her the Donaldson Award for best newcomer on Broadway. She also won a Tony for Hello Dolly.
Bailey was also a goodwill ambassador, raising awareness and funds for AIDS research, and entertaining American troops overseas. She was also a popular favorite on the talk show circuit.
She had her first heart attack in 1972 at the age of 54. Shortly before she was to address the United Nations, Bailey suffered another heart attack and died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 17, 1990.