When Ethel Waters entered show business, television and radio broadcasting, film making and music recording were in their infancy. Watersachieved fame and fortune in Hollywood as an actor in race movies. Radio and television producers, bandleaders, songwriters and executives in the music recording industry took notice of Waters as she developed into a natural talent in front of the camera as television was being born.


Known as the first black female superstar, Ethel Waters became one of the most popular and highest-paid entertainers of her day, rising up from her humble childhood, daughter of a rape victim, mostly raising herself on the streets of Chester, Pennsylvania, until she married at age 13. She soon left the abusive husband, moved to Philadelphia and became a hotel maid until she was encouraged to sing a couple of songs. That changed everything. At age 17, the youngster began singing and dancing her way through the vaudeville circuits to Broadway to Hollywood and became the second African American to be nominated for an Academy Award for her 1949 performance as Dicey Johnson

in the movie, Pinky.