Actor / Jazz Musician
Date Of Birth:
11 June 1920
Date Of Death:
2 October 1981
Place Of Birth:
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Hazel Scott was a pianist and singer of the 1930s and '40s and one of the most popular black entertainers of her time. At one time she was also the wife of Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., the outspoken civil rights activist. She moved with her mother to New York City when she was young, and her musical talent was such that she was awarded a special scholarship to Julliard School of Music at the age of 8. She played in her mother's band for a while, then played gigs while still in high school. Just out of high school, Scott was on Broadway. A dazzling beauty who put jazzy life into classical compositions and popular tunes, Hazel Scott became a radio and theater star in New York in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Hollywood was also in the mix, and Scott appeared in five feature films. In 1950 she had her own television series, The Hazel Scott Show. Hazel Scott was also outspoken about racial injustice, and refused to perform in segregated venues. When she went to Hollywood, she refused to appear in costumes she felt were demeaning stereotypes. Her marriage to Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. in 1945 was a media sensation. Together they lived the life of jet-setting celebrities. When she toured Europe to great acclaim, Powell tagged along while missing congressional votes. The whirlwind of international celebrity wore her down, and Scott retreated to private life. She was named as a communist sympathizer in 1950 by Joseph McCarthy's House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), and her career took a nose dive. Scott divorced Powell in 1956 and left the U.S. to work and live in Europe. She returned to New York in 1967 and continued to work as a performer, including a stint on the soap opera The Bold Ones (1970) and in the Diahann Carroll series Julia (1969-70).
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