Tucker, Sophie

Tucker, Sophie (b. Sonia Kalish)

(1884–1966) singer, entertainer; born in Russia. Brought to the U.S.A. as a child, she first performed on vaudeville in blackface, singing ragtime melodies. She almost stole the show in the Ziegfield Follies of 1909 and returned as a star to vaudeville, abandoning blackface but continuing in the African-American style. She helped popularize songs of black composers such as Eubie Blake and was also known for her racy songs. She enjoyed great success on tour to England in 1922 and went on to appear in several stage and movie musicals, but was especially known as a nightclub torch singer. In her later years she billed herself as "The Last of the Red-Hot Mamas."
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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IN TENTS FUN: Gemma Ambrose and Mary Tucker, Sophie Furness and Georgie Howard, all aged 21, share a joke as they put up a tent at Worthy Farm, in Pilton, Somerset, ahead of the 2008 Glastonbury Festival Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA