Bailey was the daughter of the Rev. Joseph James Bailey, and she attributed much of her vocal ability to her childhood singing in church. At the age of 15 she quit her high school in Philadelphia for a career as a singer and dancer. She recorded several albums with each. She appeared in her first Broadway musical , St. Louis Woman , in and her first film , Variety Girl , in
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The all-black version of Hello, Dolly! Her unique delivery, which included ad-libbing and bantering back and forth with the audience, added to her personability and charisma. Throughout her life she performed with her husband, jazz drummer Louie Bellson and other notable musicians such as Louis Armstrong on USO tours that entertained troops overseas. Joseph and Ella Mae Bailey. Pearl Bailey had ancestral lines on both sides of her family that were descended from the Cree Indians.
Born in , Pearl Bailey became a jazz icon. Through Broadway shows and Hollywood movies, Bailey became known throughout the culture for her acting and singing talents. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in Pearl Bailey passed away in in her Philadelphia home. On November 19, , she married Louis Bellson, Jr.