Ruth Brown

Ruth Brown, the influential and enduring rhythm and blues singer whose career was revitalized in part by her Tony Award-winning performance in the hit Broadway revue Black and Blue, died on Nov. 17, 2006, of complications following a heart attack and a stroke that she suffered after surgery, according to the New York Times. She was 78. Ms. Brown, whose long career began in the late ‘40s, died in Las Vegas, where, after a fallow period during which she struggled for work, she began a comeback in the mid-'70s. A stage career began when, in 1975, she played gospel singer Mahalia Jackson in a musical about the civil rights movement called Selma. Soon after, she took on singing gigs in Las Vegas, and, in 1982, accepted a role in the 1982 Allen Toussaint Off-Broadway musical Stagger Lee.

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  • Born: Jan 30, 1928 in Portsmouth, VA, USA
  • Death: Nov 24, 2006 in Henderson, NV


Outer Critics Circle
1989 Outstanding Actress in a Musical Black and Blue Winner
Tony Award
1989 Actress in a Musical Black and Blue Winner