Annie Ross, the legendary Jazz singer who was part of the trio Lambert, Hendricks & Ross died in the early morning hours of July 22 at her home in New York City. She was 89. Ross’ former manager, Jim Coleman, confirmed the cause of death to be emphysema and heart disease.
Her nephew Domenick Allen wrote on his Facebook page, “My Aunt, Annie Ross, passed today at 2:00est in NYC. She was a Force of Nature, both in her music and in her life. I stood onstage next to her many times, and she truly was a Powerhouse. Her Jazz/standard hit was TWISTED, but she was STRAIGHT AHEAD all the way…I know she’ll be swinging somewhere in the Universe…”
Born Annabelle Allan Short in 1930, in Surrey, England, Ross moved to the U.S. with her Vaudeville actor parents, John and Mary Short, when she was four. She would grow up to have a long career in both jazz and film.
Ross appeared in an “Our Gang” short film in 1937, singing “Loch Lomond.” She played Judy Garland’s little sister in the 1943 film “Presenting Lily Mars.” She had over 37 credits to her name appearing in “Superman III” (1983), “Throw Momma From the Train” (1987) and Robert Altman’s “Short Cuts” (1993), playing the nightclub singer mom to Lori Singer’s character.
In 1952, Ross wrote lyrics to “Twisted,” a jazz blues composition by Wardell Gray. The song became a jazz classic and was also recorded by Bette Midler and Joni Mitchell.
But Ross is most famously known as a member of the jazz vocal trio Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, from the group’s formation in 1957 until 1962. They recorded their first album, “Sing a Song of Basie,” in 1957 which featured “Every Day I Have the Blues” and the jazz standard by Count Basie, “One O’Clock Jump.” In 1998, the album was awarded a Grammy Hall of Fame Award.
The trio recorded three albums for Columbia Records: “Lambert, Hendricks, & Ross! The Hottest New Group in Jazz,” “Lambert, Hendricks & Ross Sing Ellington” and “High Flying with L, H & R.”
Ross was the recipient of the ASCAP Jazz Wall of Fame Award in 2009, the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award in 2010, and the Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011.
Aside from movies and singing, Ross appeared on stage in London and New York in “Pirates of Penzance,” “Side by Side by Sondheim,” and “The Threepenny Opera.”
In 1963, she married actor Sean Lynch (pictured).
Ross is survived by her son, Kenny Clarke Jr.
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