singer, actress, television personality
January 13, 1886 - February 09, 1966
Sophie Tucker (born nee Sonya Kalish) was an American singer, actress, comedian and radio personality.
Sophie Tucker – star without complexes
Sophie Tucker was born in a Jewish family in Tulchin (Ukraine, then – part of Russian empire). The family immigrated to the United States in the end of the XIX century and settled in Hartford, Connecticut.
Her parents owned a restaurant, where Sonya started singing to the patrons. In 1903, at the age of just 17, she married Luis Tuck and subsequently chose Sophie Tucker as her stage name.
She brought her husband a son, but a divorce followed soon thereafter. Afterwards she was married twice, but both of the marriages lasted less than 5 years.
She started her stage career in New York as a vaudeville and burlesque performer, as well as a piano player. Later, using a blackface makeup - popular among white singers of the era – she sang Afro-American songs. Starting in 1909, she was starring in theater productions in the Music Hall and in the Palace Theater.
She recorded her first song - "Some of These Days", a minor hit - in 1911. During the following decades, she sang jazz and ragtime songs, and created a multitude of comical music acts. And in the 30s, she also played comical roles in movies,
Her fame reached its zenith in mid-1930s; her songs often touched upon sexual themes, which was highly uncharacteristic for the vast majority of the artists of the time.
Her highly extravagant acting on stage earned her the nickname of The Last of the Red Hot Mamas.
In 1938 and 1939 Tucker had her own radio show, which aired several times a week. And in late 1950s and early 1960s, until her very death on February 9, 1966, she was appearing regularly on television.
Sophie Tucker: First Lady of Show Business - Armond Fields
Deming, Mark. Making Trouble: Three Generations of Funny Jewish Women.