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Melba Moore

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Information about Melba Moore

Profile image of Melba Moore

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
EntertainmentMakers
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Stage Actress
Musical Singer
Singer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
All Seasons
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
Praise The Lord.

Birthplace

Born:
10/29/1945
Birth Location:
New York, New York

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
EntertainmentMakers
MusicMakers
Occupation(s):
Stage Actress
Musical Singer
Singer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Red
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
All Seasons
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
Praise The Lord.

Birthplace

Born:
10/29/1945
Birth Location:
New York
See how Melba Moore is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Singer, stage actress, and musical singer Melba Moore was born Beatrice Melba Smith on October 29, 1945 in New York City. The daughter of Detroit bandleader, Ted Hill, Moore was raised by mother, Gertrude Melba Smith and stepfather, Clement Leroy Moorman, alsoa professional musicians. As a youth, Moore’s passion was dancing, however, when her stepfather made her take piano lessons, she began to admire jazz and blues pianists. Moore attended Newark, New Jersey’s Waverly Elementary School and Cleveland Junior High School. After graduating from the High School of Performing Arts, she enrolled in Montclair State Teachers College. Later, Moore went on to earn her B.A. degree in music.

Moore returned to the Newark Public Schools and student taught at the Pershine Avenue Elementary School. As a teacher, Moore began to perform with other teachers that formed a cultural performance group called Black Voices. In 1968, Moore began to work at various studios in Manhattan where she provided background vocals for the likes of Frank Sinatra and Aretha Franklin. While working at one such session, Moore was encouraged to audition for the Broadway musical Hair in 1968. She succeeded Diane Keaton in the lead role in 1969.

Moore went on to play recurring roles in several hit Broadway productions including Purlie, which she won a Tony Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical, Inacent Black, Timbuktu and Les Misérables. In 1975, alongside her then-husband Charles Huggins, Moore formed Hush Productions and signed R&B artist Freddie Jackson. That same year, she released her Grammy-nominated, debut album entitled Peach Melba. Throughout the 1980s, Moore made appearances on several television and movie productions including Ellis Island. In 2003, she was featured alongside Beyoncé Knowles and Cuba Gooding, Jr. as “Bessie Cooley” in The Fighting Temptations.

Moore lives in New York City.

Melba Moore was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 28, 2010.

See how Melba Moore is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Melba Moore's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Melba Moore lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Melba Moore describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Melba Moore describes her mother's upbringing
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Melba Moore talks about her mother's Creole heritage
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Melba Moore describes her mother's musical career
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Melba Moore talks about her biological father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Melba Moore describes how her mother and stepfather met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Melba Moore talks about her mother and stepfather's musical style
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Melba Moore talks about the nightclub venues in Atlantic City, New Jersey
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Melba Moore describes her earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Melba Moore remembers the Harlem neighborhood of New York City
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Melba Moore describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Melba Moore remembers her early dance lessons
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Melba Moore talks about moving from New York City to Newark, New Jersey
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Melba Moore talks about her family
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Melba Moore describes her schooling
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Melba Moore talks about her early involvement in the performing arts
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Melba Moore talks about her favorite black performers
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Melba Moore talks about her career aspirations
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Melba Moore recalls studying music education at Montclair State College in Montclair, New Jersey
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Melba Moore describes her experiences as a music teacher
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Melba Moore talks about touring in the segregated South
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Melba Moore talks about her relationship with her stepfather
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Melba Moore recalls the start of her performance career
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Melba Moore remembers joining the all-black Voices, Inc. ensemble
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Melba Moore talks about her career as a backup singer
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Melba Moore remembers her nanny
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Melba Moore talks about developing her confidence
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Melba Moore remembers the cast of the Broadway production of 'Hair'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Melba Moore talks about why she left the production of 'Hair'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Melba Moore talks about her role in the Broadway production of 'Purlie'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Melba Moore talks about the African American performers on Broadway
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Melba Moore talks about 'The Melba Moore-Clifton Davis Show'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Melba Moore remembers her struggle with addiction
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Melba Moore recalls meeting Charles Huggins
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Melba Moore talks about her husband, Charles Huggins
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Melba Moore remembers her mother's death and her divorce
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Melba Moore talks about Hush Productions
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Melba Moore talks about her acting career and album 'Peach Melba'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Melba Moore remembers working with Eartha Kitt
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Melba Moore talks about her crossover to acting
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Melba Moore recalls how her ex-husband ruined her reputation
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Melba Moore talks about reviving her career after her divorce
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Melba Moore talks about the gospel music theatre circuit
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Melba Moore remembers becoming estranged from her daughter
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Melba Moore talks about Bill Cosby and Camille Cosby's role in caring for her daughter
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Melba Moore recalls securing a part in 'Les Miserables' on Broadway
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Melba Moore describes her experience in the role of Fantine in 'Les Miserables'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Melba Moore talks about her experiences with the record industry
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Melba Moore recalls her transition to gospel music
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Melba Moore talks about working with gospel music artists and songwriters
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Melba Moore talks about the gospel music circuit in the Midwest
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Melba Moore describes the basis of her religious faith
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Melba Moore talks about the parallels between her life and her acting roles
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Melba Moore talks about her faith's influence on her career
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Melba Moore remembers 'The Fighting Temptations'
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Melba Moore talks about the role of music in the African American community
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Melba Moore describes her daily life
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Melba Moore talks about the Broadway revival of 'Hair'
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Melba Moore describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Melba Moore reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Melba Moore talks about the status of black women in the arts
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Melba Moore reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Melba Moore talks about her family
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Melba Moore describes how she would like to be remembered