Hazel Dorothy Scott was a Trinidadian-born jazz and classical pianist and singer; she also performed as herself in several films.
Born in Port of Spain, Hazel was taken at the age of four by her mother to New York City. Recognized early as a musical prodigy, Scott was given scholarships from the age of eight to study at the Juilliard School. She began performing in a jazz band in her teens and was performing on radio at age 16.
She was prominent as a jazz singer throughout the 1930s and 1940s. In 1950, she became the first black woman to have a TV show, The Hazel Scott Show, featuring a variety of entertainment. Her career in America faltered after she testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee during the McCarthy era. Scott subsequently moved to Paris in the late 1950s and performed in France, not returning to the United States until 1967.
In 1945, Scott, who was a Catholic, married Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., a Baptist minister and U.S. Congressman, in Connecticut. They had one child, Adam Clayton Powell III, but divorced in 1960 after a separation. On January 19, 1961, she married Ezio Bedin, a Swiss-born comedian.
On October 2, 1981, Hazel Scott died of cancer at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. She was 61 years old and survived by her son Adam Clayton Powell III. She was buried at Flushing Cemetery in Queens, New York, near other musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Johnny Hodges, and Dizzy Gillespie.
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