Hazel Dorothy Scott was an internationally-known jazz and classical pianist and singer. She was prominent as a jazz singer throughout the 1930s and 1940s, and also performed as herself in several films.
In 1950, she became the first woman of color to have her own TV show, The Hazel Scott Show, which featured a variety of entertainment. To evade the political persecution of artists in the McCarthy era, Scott moved to Paris in the late 1950s and performed in France, not returning to the United States until 1967.
Born in Port of Spain, Hazel was taken at the age of four by her mother to New York. Recognized early as a musical prodigy, Scott was given scholarships starting at the age of eight to study at the Juilliard School. She began performing in a jazz band in her teens and was performing on radio at age 16.
On October 2, 1981, Hazel Scott died of cancer at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. She was 61 years old, and survived by her son, Adam Clayton Powell III.
She was buried at Flushing Cemetery in Queens, New York, near other musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Johnny Hodges, and Dizzy Gillespie.
In addition to being known internationally as a performer of jazz, she was also accomplished in politics, leading the way for African Americans in entertainment and film. Furthermore, she was successful in dramatic acting and classical music.
She was noted for her swinging style, performing at the Milford Plaza Hotel in her last months.
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