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Thu, 02.20.1908

Ruby Elzy, Stage and Film Vocalist born.

Ruby Elzy

*Ruby Elzy was born on this date in 1908. She was a Black opera singer who appeared on stage, radio, and in film.

A native of Pontotoc, Mississippi, her family was abandoned at the age of five. Her mother (Emma) Elzy supported the family as a teacher at the colored school in Pontotoc.  Elzy is known to have created the role of Serena in George Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess" on Broadway in 1935. She was married twice; her second husband was actor Jack Carr, who appeared on stage with her in "Porgy and Bess" and who also appeared in several films.

Elzy made her film debut opposite Paul Robeson in 1933's "The Emperor Jones" while still a student at New York's Juilliard School. Her most prominent screen moment came in 1941's "Birth of the Blues," starring Bing Crosby when she sang "St. Louis Blues."

She had just completed the 1943 tour of "Porgy and Bess" when she died following an operation for what was thought to be a minor condition.

To Become a Musician or Singer


Africana The Encyclopedia of the African and
African American Experience
Editors: Kwame Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Copyright 1999
ISBN 0-465-0071-1

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