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Finding Aid for the Ethel Smith papers, 1950s-1990s
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Ethel Smith gained fame as an organist and performer through radio, film, and records. Most associated with her career is her widely popular rendition of Tico Tico. The collection consists of materials related to her career and includes scrapbooks of press clippings, souvenir programs, publicity stills and photographs, sound recordings, and publications from the Ethel Smith Music Corporation.
Ethel Goldsmith was born on November 22, 1910, in Pittsburgh, PA. She attended Carnegie Tech and majored in piano. She gained fame as an organist and performer through radio, film, and records. Most associated with her career is her widely popular rendition of Tico Tico. Spotted by a talent agent while working as the house organist at the St. Regis hotel in New York, she began appearing on radio in the late 1930s. In 1941 she took over from Eddie Duchin at the Copacabana Casino in Rio de Janeiro. She returned to the US and began playing for Your Hit Parade in 1943 where she arranged popular songs and performed with Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, among others. In 1944 she appeared in the musical numbers for Bathing Beauty, her first feature for MGM. Other motion picture credits include Scandals, Twice Blessed, Easy to Wed, and Disney's Melody Time. During the course of her career she also appeared in stage performances such as Beyond Desire, The Desk Set, Season of Choice, and The Women. Smith founded her own publishing company, Ethel Smith Music Corporation in the mid-1940s which published arrangements of popular tunes and instructional books for the Hammond organ, as well as other items such as Ethel Smith's Latin American Rhythms for Percussion Instruments and her Hammond arrangements of Fritz Kreisler's violin pieces. Smith produced over 20 albums, mostly with Decca. She developed a nightclub act in which she played the organ and other instruments, sang and told jokes. Smith collected percussion instruments from all over the world which she used on records and in performances. In the 1960s she took a renewed interest in acting, taking small roles on stage and in film. In the 1970s she relocated to Palm Beach, Florida, where she occasionally performed for special occasions. She died in May 1996, in Palm Beach, Florida.
7 boxes (4.0 linear ft)3 flat boxes
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COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. Advance notice required for access. Contact the UCLA Library, Performing Arts Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.