|Pearl Bailey Quick Info|
|Height||5 ft 6½ in|
|Date of Birth||March 29, 1918|
|Date of Death||August 17, 1990|
Pearl Bailey was an American singer, actress, and author who made her Broadway debut in St. Louis Woman in 1946. Later, in 1968, Pearl won a Special Tony Award for the title role in the all-black production of Hello, Dolly!
Pearl Mae Bailey
Dickie, Pearly Mae
Pearl Bailey was born on March 29, 1918.
Pearl died on August 17, 1990, at the age of 72 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States.
Newport News, Virginia, United States
Pearl completed her studies at Booker T. Washington High School in nearby Norfolk.
Actress, Singer, Author
- Father – Reverend Joseph James
- Mother – Ella Mae Ricks Bailey
- Siblings – Bill Bailey (Older Brother) (Tap Dancer)
Pop, Seasonal, Jazz
5 ft 6½ in or 169.5 cm
52 kg or 114.5 lbs
Boyfriend / Spouse
Pearl Bailey had been romantically linked to –
- John Randolph Pinkett (1947–1952) – John Randolph Pinkett was her third or fourth husband whom she tied the knot in 1947. Pearl was 30 years of age at the time. The couple legally parted ways in 1952. According to a statement of hers, he would physically abuse her.
- Louie Bellson (1951-1990) – Pearl tied the knot with jazz drummer Louie Bellson on November 19, 1952. He was 6 years her senior. The couple adopted a son named Tony Bellson who died in 2004. Together, they had a daughter Dee Dee J. Bellson (b. April 20, 1960- d. July 4, 2009), at the age of 49. It was just five months after her father Louie passed away on February 14.
Note: During her earlier adult years, she went through several failed marriages.
Race / Ethnicity
- Her short hair and powerful presence
Pearl had appeared in several commercials such as Amana Refrigerators.
Pearl Bailey Facts
- She was brought up in the Bloodfields neighborhood of Newport News.
- Pearl was in the same class as singer, songwriter, actress, and the Queen of R&B, Ruth Brown.
- After completing her schooling, Bailey relocated to Philadelphia with her siblings and mother.
- Pearl was just 15 years old when she sang publicly for the first time. It was during the 1930s that she began performing at Philadelphia’s black nightclubs.
- During World War II, in 1941, Bailey toured the country with the United Service Organizations Inc., performing for American troops. After that, she went on to settle in New York.
- In 1968, Bailey was awarded the Bronze Medallion, the highest award given to a civilian by the city of New York.
- Pearl was a huge fan of the New York Mets for whom she even sang the national anthem at the Shea Stadium prior to Game 5 of the 1969 World Series.
- In 1970, Bailey was appointed as the “Ambassador of Love” by President Richard Nixon. She also appeared on President Gerald Ford’s campaign during the 1976 election.
- From January 1971 to May 1971, she hosted The Pearl Bailey Show.
- She performed in the church choir at St Peter Claver Catholic Church in Brooklyn.
- Pearl received the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Reagan in 1988.
- Throughout her career, Pearl had published various books including The Raw Pearl (1968), Talking to Myself (1971), Pearl’s Kitchen (1973), and Hurry Up America and Spit (1976).
- Pearl was a close friend of actress Joan Crawford.
- On August 17, 1990, Pearl passed away at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. It was due to the narrowing of the coronary artery. Also, it was found that she had suffered from heart problems for more than 30 years. She was buried at the Rolling Green Memorial Park in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
- Her film credits include Isn’t It Romantic? (1948), That Certain Feeling (1956), The Landlord (1970), and Norman… Is That You? (1976).
- Pearl released several songs including Les Poupées de Paris (1964), I’m with You (1953), Say Si Si (1953), Around the World with Me (1954), Carmelina (1955), The Intoxicating Pearl Bailey (1956), and The One and Only Pearl Bailey Sings (1956) to name a few.
- After her death, the dresses that she had owned were kept at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Featured Image By William Morris Agency / Wikimedia / Public Domain