|Cabell Calloway III Quick Info|
|Height||5 ft 10 in|
|Date of Birth||December 25, 1907|
|Date of Death||November 18, 1994|
Cabell Calloway III was an American jazz singer, bandleader, musician, performer, stage artist, and actor whose career spanned over 65 years. Known for his niche of mixing jazz and vaudeville, he established himself as a noted vocalist of the swing era. Also, he became the first African-American musician to sell a million records from a single and to have a nationally syndicated radio show. His discography included albums like Cab Calloway, Blues Makes Me Happy, Hi De Hi De Ho, and others. He received the National Medal of Arts from the United States Congress in 1993.
Cabell Calloway III
The “King of Hi-De-Ho”
He was born on December 25, 1907.
On November 18, 1994, Cabell Calloway III died from pneumonia at the age of 86 in Hockessin, Delaware, United States.
Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York, United States
Rochester, New York, United States
He resided in Westchester County, New York, United States.
In 1921, Cabell Calloway III was sent to Downingtown Industrial and Agricultural School (a reform school run by his mother’s uncle in Chester County, Pennsylvania) after he got caught playing dice on the church steps. The following year, he started taking private vocal lessons as well as studied music throughout his formal schooling.
He then got enrolled at Frederick Douglass High School and graduated in 1925.
Jazz Singer, Bandleader, Musician, Performer, Stage Artist, Actor
- Father – Cabell Calloway Jr. (Worked as a lawyer and in real estate)
- Mother – Martha Eulalia Reed (Teacher, Church Organist)
- Others – John Nelson Fortune (Stepfather), Booker T. Brooks (Ex-Son-In-Law, Camay’s Ex-Husband), Christopher William Brooks (Grandson) (Formed The Cab Calloway Orchestra in honor of his grandfather), Peter Brooks (Grandson), John H. Murphy III (March 2, 1916 – October 16, 2010) (Son-In-Law, Camay’s 2nd Husband) (Publisher, Newspaper Executive, Head of the Afro-American newspaper), Rupert Osaze DIa Crosse (Chris’ Son)
Cabell Calloway III was managed by Irving Mills.
Jazz, Blues, Swing, Big Band
5 ft 10 in or 178 cm
75 kg or 165.5 lbs
Girlfriend / Spouse
Cabell Calloway III had dated –
- Zelma Proctor (1925-1927) – He was romantically involved with a fellow student named Zelma Proctor between 1925 and 1927 and they had a daughter, Camay Calloway Murphy, in January 1927. Camay became one of the first African-Americans to teach in a white school in Virginia.
- Wenonah “Betty” Conacher (1928-1949) – In July 1928, he married Wenonah “Betty” Conacher and the couple adopted a daughter named Constance. The marriage ended in divorce in 1949.
- Zulme “Nuffie” MacNeal (1949-1994) – He got married to his 2nd wife Zulme “Nuffie” MacNeal on October 7, 1949, and they had 3 daughters – Chris Calloway (1945–2008), Cecilia “Lael” Eulalia Calloway, and Cabella Calloway (1952–2023). The duo remained together until his death in 1994.
Race / Ethnicity
Calloway was of African-American descent.
- Energetic scat singing
- Often wore a white tuxedo
- Wide smile
- Frenzied movements
Cabell Calloway III Facts
- At the age of 11, he shifted to Baltimore, Maryland with his family.
- Growing up, Calloway used to frequently skip school to earn money by selling newspapers, shining shoes, and cooling down horses at the Pimlico racetrack.
- His parents and teachers disapproved of jazz. Nevertheless, he began performing in nightclubs in Baltimore and his mentors were drummer Chick Webb and pianist Johnny Jones.
- Calloway’s song Minnie the Moocher was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999 and was later added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry in 2019.
- In 2008, he posthumously received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
- He has been inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame and the International Jazz Hall of Fame.
- His film credits include The Blues Brothers, The Cincinnati Kid, The Singing Kid, and Manhattan Merry-Go-Round.
Featured Image by William P. Gottlieb / United States Library of Congress’s Music Division / Public Domain