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Ethel Smith

Biography

The widely acknowledged “Initial Lady from the Hammond Body organ,” Ethel Smith remains best remembered on her behalf recording from the Argentine traditional “Tico-Tico,” which sold near two million copies through the middle-’40s. Created Ethel Goldsmith in Pittsburgh on November 22, 1910, she researched music and linguistics at Carnegie Technology, and upon graduation approved employment playing piano with an area theater; whenever a Schubert display moving through the Iron Town invited Smith to become listed on their troupe, she quickly embarked on a 28-week U.S. tour, ultimately getting in California. There she was initially asked to try out the Hammond electrical organ on the Hollywood studio great deal — virtually over night she appeared to get better at the device, and in 1940 she was tapped to get a headlining gig at New York’s St. Regis Resort. While at the St. Regis, Smith received a contact from Hammond Studios: the owners of Rio de Janeiro’s famous Copacabana Club had been buying feminine organist to headline a 26-week engagement. In every she continued to be in Brazil for approximately annually, immersing herself in the neighborhood musical tradition and customs. While strolling through among Rio’s seedier districts, Smith stumbled on an area dancehall combo carrying out a music she’d under no circumstances noticed before; intrigued, the music artists explained the music was a normal Argentine preferred, although its name and composer had been unfamiliar. Dubbing the tune “Tico-Tico,” she integrated it into her work, and it quickly became a group favorite. JAPAN assault on Pearl Harbor hastened Smith’s go back to the U.S. as well as the St. Regis, where one night she was contacted by George Washington Hill, the top from the American Cigarette Company. Hill got caught Smith’s display in the Copacabana and today invited her to become listed on the air blockbuster Your Strike Parade — she approved, becoming among the show’s highest-paid performers. In 1944, she documented “Tico-Tico,” which would continue to rank one of the best-selling strikes of the 10 years; that same calendar year, Smith also produced her film debut, showing up opposite Esther Williams in Bathing Beauty. Following film appearances consist of 1945’s George White’s Scandals and 1946’s Cuban Pete, which starred Desi Arnaz. With her shiny, multi-colored dresses, omnipresent hats, and brand high-heels, Smith cut a gorgeous figure certainly, and in 1945 she produced headlines by marrying professional Ralph Bellamy, after that showing up on Broadway in Condition from the Union. The few split 2 yrs afterwards, and Smith rededicated herself to her executing career, becoming nearly as efficient on electric guitar as she was for the Hammond. Although she under no circumstances repeated the substantial achievement of “Tico-Tico,” she toured thoroughly through the 1950s and 1960s, and in addition continued her performing career, showing up in some nonmusical jobs in little off-Broadway has. In 1969, Smith also liked a brief work within a musical edition of Tom Jones. But with the appearance of a fresh decade she retired from touring and resolved in Palm Seaside, FL, where she continuing performing at regional benefits and interpersonal engagements well into her eighties. Smith passed away at age 85 on, may 10, 1996.

Quick Facts


Full Name Ethel Smith
Date Of Birth November 22, 1902
Died May 10, 1996, Palm Beach, Florida, United States
Profession Actor, Organist, Dancer
Education Carnegie Mellon College of Engineering
Nationality American
Spouse Bo Diddley, Ralph Bellamy, Roy Atwell
Children June Carol Atwell
Music Songs Blame It on the Samba, Lady of Spain, Monkey On A String, Mambo Jambo, The Breeze and I, Fiddle, Faddle, The Green Cockatoo, Paran Pan Pin, Cachita, Three-Cornered Tune, Sk-ratch, Tic-Toc Rhumba, Dear Heart, The Galloping Comedians, Silent Night, Holy Night, The Parrot, The Syncopated Clock, Samba Polka, The Scottish Samba, Sincopado, Lero Lero / Bem Te Vi a Trevido, Cuban Cutie, My Mother's Waltz, Longing For You, Dinora, Adeste Fidelis, A String of Pearls, Zing-A-Zing-A-Zing, Boom, Cachita, Money On a String, Tico Tico Mambo, Teddy Bears' Picnic, Anniversary Song
Albums Souvenir Album, Galloping Fingers (Mono Version), Organ Holiday, 12 Greatest Hits Forever, Ethel Smith's Toy Parade (Mono Version), Tico Tico, Ethel Swings Sweetly, Silent Night, Holy Night (Original Album 1955), Adeste Fidelis, The First Lady of the Hammond Organ, Latin from Manhattan, Dance To The Latin Rhythms, Hollywood Favorites, The Voices of Christmas, Silent Night, The Best Christmas Present Ever, Vol. 16, 12 Exitos de Siempre, The First Lady of the Hammond Organ Plays Tico Tico & Other Great Original Recordings, Ethel Smith Swings Sweetley, Domino, Christmas Music (The Sound of a Special Day), Good King Wenceslas (The Christmas Songs), Lady of Spain, Ethel's Cha Cha, Delicious Christmas, Christmas Music (Original 1949 Album - Digitally Remastered), Cha Cha Cha Album, No. 2, Merry Christmas with Ethel Smith, Christmas Music, I Got Rhythm, She's Got Rhythm, Waiting for Santa Claus
Movies Easy to Wed, Bathing Beauty, Ten Nights in a Barroom, Cuban Pete


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Soundtrack

Soundtrack

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Strange Magic 2015 writer: "Love Is Strange", "Love Is Strange Finale Version"
Dancing with the Stars 2014 TV Series writer - 1 episode
Schlaflos in Oldenburg 2008 TV Movie writer: "Love is strange"
The Sopranos 2000 TV Series writer - 1 episode
Lipstick on Your Collar 1993 TV Mini-Series writer - 1 episode
Quantum Leap 1992 TV Series writer - 1 episode
Dirty Dancing 1987 writer: "Love Is Strange"
Mischief 1985 writer: "Love Is Strange"
Arena 1984 TV Series documentary writer - 1 episode
Badlands 1973 as B. Smith, "LOVE IS STRANGE"
Shindig! 1965 TV Series writer - 1 episode
Melody Time 1948 performer: "Blame It on the Samba"
Easy to Wed 1946 performer: "Toca Tu Samba", "Bonecu de Pixe"
George White's Scandals 1945 performer: "Liza All the Clouds'll Roll Away", "Leave Us Leap" - uncredited
Bathing Beauty 1944 performer: "I'll Take the High Note" 1943, "By the Waters of Minnetonka: an Indian Love Song" 1914, "Tico-tico no fubá" 1917, "Loch Lomond" - uncredited

Actress

Actress

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Wicked, Wicked 1973 Organist (uncredited)
Pigeons 1970 Blowsy Lady at Pinball Machine (uncredited)
C'mon, Let's Live a Little 1967 An' Effel
Blame It on the Samba 1948 Short Organ Player
Melody Time 1948 Ethel Smith
Easy to Wed 1946 Ethel Smith - Organ Player
Cuban Pete 1946 Ethel Smith
George White's Scandals 1945 Hit Parade Swing Organist
Twice Blessed 1945 Ethel Smith - Organist
Bathing Beauty 1944 Ethel Smith - Music Teacher

Music Department

Music Department

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Wicked, Wicked 1973 organist

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Texaco Star Theatre 1951 TV Series Herself - Organist
The Saturday Night Revue with Jack Carter 1950 TV Series Herself - Organist
Ethel Smith and Henry King Orchestra 1950 Short Herself
Cavalcade of Stars 1949 TV Series Herself
The Ed Sullivan Show 1949 TV Series Herself

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color 1966 TV Series Organ Player

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