Sophie Tucker was born as Sophia Kalish on January 13, 1884 in Russia. When she was still an infant, her parents emigrated to the United States and settled near Hartford, Connecticut. In 1903, she was briefly married to Louis Tuck; from which she decided to change her name to Tucker.
In 1917, Tucker played piano and sang in Burlesque and Vaudeville, at first in blackface as a Coon Shouter performing songs with an African American Influence. At a 1908 Vaudeville appearance her luggage and makeup kit were stolen shortly before the show, and Tucker hastily went on stage with no makeup, and to her surprise she was a bigger hit with the audience than she had been in blackfaceshe never wore blackface again.
She made her debut in the Ziegfeld Follies in 1909 and made the first of her recordings, including Some of These Days for Edison in 1911. The tune, written by Shelton Brooks became an instant hit and her theme song, and later was the title of her autobiography published in 1945.
In 1921 Tucker hired pianist Ted Shapiro as her accompanist and musical director; Shapiro would remain with Tucker the rest of her career, and was also her lifelong friend. Tucker made her first movie appearance in the 1929 early sound motion picture Honky Tonk where she was billed with her nickname, The Last of the Red Hot Mammas. Her hearty sexual appetite was a frequent subject of her songs, unusual for female performers of the era. In 1938, due to her efforts to unionize professional actors, she was elected President of the American Federation of Actors.
In the 1950s and into the early 1960s, Tucker made frequent television appearances and continued performing in the US and the UK until shortly before her death. Sophie Tucker died of lung cancer February 9, 1966 and was buried as Emmanuel Cemetery in Wethersfield (Middlesex County), Connecticut.
To hear more great music such as this, just tune into our 24 hour Internet Radio Station, by visiting our website at: http://www.americansoundarchive.com & click on the Listen Live Now Icon. As always, thanks for watching and listening, and please feel free to comment.