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Ella Fitzgerald & Marilyn Monroe. “I owe Marilyn Monroe a real debt …. she personally called the owner of the Mocambo, and told him she wanted me booked immediately, and if he would do it, she would take a front table every night .... The owner said yes, and Marilyn was there, front table, every night. The press went overboard. After that, I never had to play a small jazz club again. She was an unusual woman – a little ahead of her times. And she didn’t know it.” - Ella Fitzgerald
When Marilyn Monroe learned that the Mocambo, a popular Hollywood night club, would not book Ella Fitzgerald because of segregation. Marilyn phoned the manager and told him that she would reserve a front row table every night Ella performed there, knowing that her presence would get a lot of press and publicity for the club. Soon thereafter, Ella became the first African-American to perform at the Mocambo, and as promised, Marilyn was seated right up front to enjoy her favorite singer.
Sometimes doing the 'right' thing is a brave deed. kn The 50s Mocambo nightclub wouldn't book Ella Fitzgerald because she was black. Ella had a powerful & unlikely benefactor, Marilyn Monroe. “I owe Marilyn a debt. Because of her I played there. She called the owner, & told him she wanted me booked immediately. She took a front table every night. The press went crazy. I never had to play a small jazz club again. She was a woman, ahead of her time & she didn’t know it.” Ella Fitzgerald
Marilyn was a big supporter of the Civil Rights Movement. Ella Fitzgerald was one of Marilyn’s idols and a major inspiration. The Mocambo nightclub in West Hollywood, the most popular dance spot at the time, refused to let Ella perform there because she was black. Outraged, Marilyn told the owners that if they would let Ella perform, she would be there in the front row every time Ella was onstage. She did, and the two became friends.