Black History Month Woman of the Day: Pearl Bailey

Pearl Bailey (1918-1990) was an actress and singer who made her debut in 1946 in the Broadway play, St. Louis Woman. Bailey starred along with many greats as she rose to fame including Dorothy Dandridge, Eartha Kitt, Nat King Cole and Cab Calloway.

Her voice could fill up a stadium, and by 1969 the Mets fan sang the national anthem prior to game 5 of the World Series. Bailey was appointed by President Richard Nixon as America’s “Ambassador of Love” the following year for her loyalty to the country.

During the 1970s she created her own television show and she provided voice overs for animated shows. Pearl returned to Broadway in 1975 starring as the lead in an all-black production of Hello, Dolly! As she began to age she turned her talents to writing and published several books including Pearl’s Kitchen in 1973, and Hurry Up America and Spit in 1976.

In 1990, Pearl passed away due to heart disease. Her legacy lives on in music, film, theater and television.