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Sophie Tucker

(1884 - 1966)

Born in Russia, Tucker immigrated to the United States and settled with her family in Hartford, Connecticut, where she helped out at her parents' kosher diner and roominghouse. Surrounded by theater performers at a young age, Tucker began singing for her customers.  After a failed marriage, with her her son staying in Hartford, Tucker moved to New York and got a vaudeville job. First performing in blackface, she soon began singing the songs that made her famous, including  "Some of These Days" and "My Yiddishe Momma," throughout the world.  She played in several films in the 1930s and 1940s.  Tucker's financial independence was important to her and her philanthropy included personal, as well as, institutional contributions to actors guilds, Jewish and Zionist causes, synagogues and hospitals. Her work challenged stereotypes of age, size and gender and one historian has labeled her a feminist of pop culture.

Sources: Jewish Women's Archive