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Freda Payne

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Information about Freda Payne

Profile image of Freda Payne

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Stage Actress
Singer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue, Maroon, Red, Tan, Yellow
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean, Hawaii
Favorite Quote:
What Goes Around, Comes Around.

Birthplace

Born:
9/19/1942
Birth Location:
Detroit, Michigan

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Stage Actress
Singer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue, Maroon, Red, Tan, Yellow
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean, Hawaii
Favorite Quote:
What Goes Around, Comes Around.

Birthplace

Born:
9/19/1942
Birth Location:
Detroit
See how Freda Payne is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Singer and actress Freda Charcelia Payne was born September 19, 1942, in Detroit, Michigan, to Frederick and Charsilee Payne. Payne attended Palmer Elementary School and Crossman Elementary School; she also modeled and took ballet and Afro-Cuban dance. In 1956, while at Hutchins Middle School, Payne appeared on the nationally televised Ted Mack’s The Original Amateur Hour; singing jingles, she was featured on WJR radio’s Make Way for Youth, in addition to many other local television and radio shows. Payne’s mother spurned a contract from the then unknown Barry Gordy. When she graduated from Central High School in 1959, Payne began touring with Pearl Bailey’s musical review and sang with the Duke Ellington Band. Payne’s first album was After the Lights Go Down for ABC’s Impulse Records in 1962.

Moving to New York City in 1963, Payne made appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, The Merv Griffin Show and The Dick Cavette Show. In 1964, Payne joined the Four Tops, Billy Eckstine, and Nipsey Russell on the Quincy Jones Tour. Payne was understudy for Leslie Uggams in Broadway’s Hallelujah Baby! in 1967; she also performed in the Equity Theatre production of Lost in the Stars. Stardom for Payne began when she signed with Invictus Records, a label run by her old Detroit friends Brian Holland, Edward Holland, Jr., and Lamont Dozier (formerly of Motown) in 1969. Payne’s smash single Band of Gold, released in 1970, was ranked #1 in the United Kingdom and #3 in the United States; it was her first gold record. Payne’s other hits included Deeper and Deeper, You Brought Me Joy, and the anti-war, Bring the Boys Home.

As her star kept rising, Payne began appearing in television specials and touring the United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan. Although she left Invictus in 1973, date Payne continued recording, pressing twenty-one albums, including several remakes of Band of Gold. In 1974, Payne made the cover of Jet magazine after she was dubbed a Dame of Malta, by the Knights of Malta and the Sovereign Military, and Hospital Order of St. John of Jerusalem by the Prince of Rumania. Payne hosted Today’s Black Woman, a talk show, in 1980 and 1981, before joining the cast of Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies in 1982. Payne also starred in productions of Ain’t Misbehavin’ with Della Reese, The Blues in the Night, Jellies Last Jam with Gregory Hines and Savion Glover in the 1990s. Payne’s film appearances include: Private Obsession in 1995; Sprung in 1997; Ragdoll in 1999; The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps in 2000; and Fire and Ice in 2001.

Returning to her jazz roots, Payne later toured with Darlene Love in a critically acclaimed revue entitled Love and Payne.

See how Freda Payne is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Freda Payne's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Freda Payne lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Freda Payne talks about her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Freda Payne talks about her mother's upbringing and career in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Freda Payne states her father's name
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Freda Payne shares the story of her name
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Freda Payne talks about her father, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Freda Payne talks about her paternal family's relationship to the Vanderbilt family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Freda Payne talks about her father, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Freda Payne speculates about how her parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Freda Payne describes her parents' personalities
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Freda Payne describes her earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Freda Payne describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood in Detroit, Michigan, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Freda Payne describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood in Detroit, Michigan, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Freda Payne recalls her childhood personality and foray into playing piano
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Freda Payne recalls her elementary school years in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Freda Payne remembers her favorite entertainers from her childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Freda Payne remembers starring in a play at Hutchins Middle School in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Freda Payne recalls her favorite childhood movie stars, Audrey Hepburn and Dorothy Dandridge
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Freda Payne remembers discovering her talent for singing
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Freda Payne reflects upon her personality as a youth
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Freda Payne recalls performing on Ted Mack's 'The Original Amateur Hour' at the age of fourteen
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Freda Payne remembers her breakthrough on Ted Mack's 'The Original Amateur Hour'
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Freda Payne recalls HistoryMaker Berry Gordy's interest in her as a young performer
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Freda Payne remembers rejecting contracts with Motown Records
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Freda Payne reflects on HistoryMaker Berry Gordy's success with Diana Ross
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Freda Payne remembers singing with The Three Debs during her time at Central High School in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Freda Payne recalls her hiring as a backup singer for the Pearl Bailey Revue
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Freda Payne recalls performing as a backup singer for Pearl Bailey after high school
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Freda Payne recalls declining to sign a ten-year contract with Duke Ellington's band after performing with them
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Freda Payne remembers performing with HistoryMaker Quincy Jones' band in the mid-1960s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Freda Payne talks about working with the Four Tops
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Freda Payne talks about segregated hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Freda Payne talks about the rise of Motown in the mid-1960s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Freda Payne recalls her first album, 'After the Lights Go Down Low and Much More!!!'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Freda Payne remembers her recordings in the 1960s
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Freda Payne remembers appearing on 'The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Freda Payne remembers talk shows she appeared on, including 'The Merv Griffin Show'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Freda Payne recalls the aftermath of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Freda Payne remembers moving to New York City and acting as an understudy for Leslie Uggams in 'Hallelujah Baby!'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Freda Payne remembers signing with Invictus Records in 1968
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Freda Payne talks about the state of Motown in the late 1960s
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Freda Payne lists hit songs she recorded with Invictus Records
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Freda Payne talks about her hit single 'Band of Gold'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Freda Payne talks about her controversial song 'Bring the Boys Home'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Freda Payne talks about her two remakes of her single 'Bring the Boys Home'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Freda Payne talks about her movie roles and various songs
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Freda Payne talks about suing Invictus Records
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Freda Payne talks about hosting the talk show 'Today's Black Woman'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Freda Payne talks about being made a Dame of the Knights of Malta
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Freda Payne talks about the end of her talk show, 'Today's Black Woman'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Freda Payne talks about her performance career after the end of her talk show
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Freda Payne recalls funny stories from her days as a performer
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Freda Payne talks about performing in the play 'The Blues in the Night'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Freda Payne recalls her marriage to Gregory Abbott
  • Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Freda Payne mentions her cabaret show, 'Love and Payne'
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Freda Payne shares her opinion on contemporary singers
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Freda Payne talks about her favorite singers and songs
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Freda Payne describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Freda Payne talks about her career's longevity and drug abuse by entertainers
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Freda Payne talks about her family
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Freda Payne reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Freda Payne talks about giving to Minority AIDS Initiative
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Freda Payne describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Freda Payne explains how she stays healthy
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Freda Payne narrates her photographs, pt. 1
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Freda Payne narrates her photographs, pt. 2