On August 23 ~ in Music History

today

• 1854 ~ Moritz Moszkowski, Polish-born German pianist and composer
More information about Moszkowski

• 1900 ~ Ernst Krenek, Austrian-born American composer, conductor and pianist

• 1905 ~ Constant Lambert, British composer, conductor and writer

• 1912 ~ Gene (Eugene Curran) Kelly, Dancer, actor: Singin’ in the Rain, An American in Paris, Anchors Aweigh, The Three Musketeers, Marjorie Morningstar, Inherit the Wind, North and South Book I; director: Singin’ in the Rain, Hello, Dolly!, A Guide for the Married Man, The Cheyenne Social Club

• 1917 ~ Tex (Sol) Williams, American country-western singer

• 1923 ~ Billy Jones and Ernie Hare, The Happiness Boys, were heard on radio for the first time. The two were billed as radio’s first comedians and were also credited with creating and performing the first singing commercial.

• 1936 ~ Rudy Lewis, Singer with Drifters

• 1942 ~ Patricia McBride, Ballerina: New York City Ballet. For many years she was Mikhail Baryshnikov’s only partner

• 1943 ~ LIFE magazine spotlighted a dance craze that was sweeping the U.S.A., the Lindy Hop

• 1947 ~ Keith Moon, Singer, drummer with The Who

• 1947 ~ Margaret Truman, daughter of U.S. President Harry S Truman, presented her first public concert.  Margaret sang before 15,000 people at the Hollywood Bowl. The concert did not get great reviews. In fact, the critics didn’t like Margaret’s singing at all. And Margaret’s dad didn’t like the critics, and said so, from the White House.

• 1949 ~ Rick Springfield, Singer

• 1951 ~ Mark Hudson, Singer with The Hudson Brothers

• 1951 ~ Jimi Jamison, Singer with Survivor

• 1953 ~ Bobby G. (Gubby), Singer with Bucks Fizz

• 1960 ~ Oscar (Greeley Clendenning) Hammerstein II passed away
More information about Hammerstein

• 1962 ~ Shaun Ryder, Singer with Happy Mondays

• 1966 ~ The U.S. premiere of the motion picture Help!, starring The Beatles, was held for thousands of moviegoers wanting to see the group’s first, color, motion picture. Their first film, A Hard Day’s Night, had been produced in black and white.

• 1990 ~ David Rose passed away

• 2001 ~ Kathleen Freeman, a veteran character actress whose face if not her name was known to audiences from television sitcoms, the film classic “Singin’ in the Rain” and Broadway’s “The Full Monty,” died of lung cancer at the age of  82.
Freeman gave her final performance in “The Full Monty”. She played a sassy piano player in the hit musical and earned a Tony nomination in May 2001.

Big, brash and funny were Freeman’s trademarks in playing recalcitrant maids, demented nuns, mouthy housekeepers, battle-ax mothers, irate landladies and nosy neighbors.

Starting in the Golden Age of television, Freeman appeared in such shows as “Topper,” “The Donna Reed Show,” “The Beverly Hillbillies,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “Hogan’s Heroes,” “The Lucy Show,” “The Golden Girls,” “Murphy Brown” and “Married … With Children.”

“This will sound very corny and I’m sorry,” Freeman said last year in an Associated Press interview, “but I have always had the sense I was put here to do this: I am somebody who is around to help the world laugh. I have always had that sense. Corny but absolutely true.”

In “Singin’ in the Rain,” considered by many to be the best movie musical ever made, she played Jean Hagen’s frustrated voice teacher. Among Freeman’s other films were the sci-fi thriller “The Fly,” “The Rounders” with Henry Fonda, “Far Country” with Jimmy Stewart, and “North to Alaska” starring John Wayne. More recently she appeared in “Dragnet,” “Gremlins II,” “Nutty Professor II: The Klumps” and both “Blues Brothers” comedies.

Freeman was born in Chicago and was propelled into show business at age 2. Her parents had a vaudeville act, Dixon and Freeman, in which their daughter did a little dance.

Freeman attended the University of California at Los Angeles, where she majored in music and was going to be a classical pianist. Then, she said, “A terrible thing happened. I got in a play and got a laugh. I just said a line and, `boom.”‘

Freeman then worked in many small theater groups, including the Circle Players, acting for such eminent directors – and actors – as Charles Laughton, Charlie Chaplin and Robert Morley.

At the same time, the early 1950s, the television explosion took over Los Angeles. From her first regular sitcom role, as the maid in “Topper,” Freeman went on to do just about every sitcom of the last 50 years.

For all her voluminous credits, Freeman’s stage credits were mostly on the road – touring as Miss Hannigan in “Annie” for 18 months, then in “Deathtrap” and later with Lauren Bacall in “Woman of the Year.”

Her only other Broadway appearance was for five months in the 1978 production of “13 Rue de l’Amore” starring Louis Jordan.

• 2001 ~ Frank Emilio Flynn, a blind pianist and Latin jazz pioneer who performed with many great American jazz artists, died at the age of 80.

Flynn lost his sight at age 13 but continued to study and perform classical works, transcribed into Braille, with the Symphonic Orchestra of Havana.

Flynn’s great passion was jazz, and in the 1950s he developed his own jazz-influenced ballad style, known in Cuba as “feeling.”

Performing with the Quinteto Cubana de Musica Moderno, or Cuban Quintet of Modern Music, he developed into one of the most important Cuban jazz musicians of his era.

He played at New York’s Lincoln Center in 1998 with trumpeters Alfredo Armenteros and Wynton Marsalis.

• 2018 ~ George Walker, Trailblazing American Composer, died at the age of 96

July 1, 2019 ~ Daily Listening Assignment

 

Today’s piece is Antonin Dvořák’s Humoresque #7.

Humoresques Op. 101 (B. 187), is a piano cycle by the Czech composer Antonín Dvořák, written during the summer of 1894. One writer says “the seventh Humoresque is probably the most famous small piano work ever written after Beethoven’s Für Elise.

Yo Yo Ma (cello) and Itzhak Perlman (violin)

Orchestra:

 

Ragtime:

 

Jazz with Wynton Marsalis on trumpet

Zez Confrey gave this a makeover and included Way Down Upon the Swanee River:

 

 

 

Find the original Humoresque on IMSLP. The O’Connor Music Studio Lending Library has versions of Humoresque available at several levels and Confey’s Humorestless played in the video above.

 

On January 17 in Music History

today

. 1712 ~ John Stanley, English composer and organist

. 1728 ~ Johann Gottfried Muthel, German composer and noted keyboard virtuoso

. 1734 ~ François-Joseph Gossec, Belgian composer
More information about Gossec

 

. 1750 ~ Tomaso Albinoni, Italian composer (Adagio in G Minor), died at the age of 78

. 1876 ~ The saxophone was played by Etta Morgan at New York City’s Olympic Theatre. The instrument was little known at the time in the United States.

. 1913 ~ Vido Musso, Reed instruments, played with Benny Goodman, bandleader: Stan Kenton was his pianist

. 1917 ~ Ulysses Simpson Kay, US composer, born in Tucson, Arizona (d. 1995)

. 1920 ~ George Handy (George Joseph Hendleman), Pianist, composer, arranger for the Boyd Raeburn band, Alvino Rey band, Paramount Studios

. 1922 ~ Betty White, Emmy Award-winning actress on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, singer

. 1926 ~ Moira Shearer, Ballerina

. 1927 ~ Eartha Kitt, Singer. Kitt’s birth certificate listing her actual birthdate as 1/17/27 was found in 1997. She has celebrated her birthday as Jan. 26 (1928) all of her life and says, “It’s been the 26th of January since the beginning of time and I’m not going to change it and confuse my fans.”

. 1941 ~ Gene Krupa and his band recorded the standard, Drum Boogie, on Okeh Records. The lady singing with the boys in the band during the song’s chorus was Irene Daye.

. 1944 ~ Chris Montez, Singer

. 1948 ~ Mick Taylor, Singer, rhythm guitar with The Rolling Stones

. 1955 ~ Steve Earle, Songwriter, singer, guitar

. 1956 ~ Paul Young, Singer

. 1959 ~ Susanna Hoffs, Singer, guitar with The Bangles

. 1960 ~ John Crawford, Singer, bass with Berlin

. 1969 ~ Lady Samantha, one of the very first recordings by Reginald Kenneth Dwight (aka Elton John), was released in England on Philips records. The song floundered, then bombed. The rock group, Three Dog Night, however, recorded it for an album.

. 2001 ~ Pianist and singer Emma Kelly, the “Lady of 6,000 Songs” made famous by the book “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” died from a liver ailment at the age of 82. Kelly’s nightclub act, in which she tapped her vast repertoire of American popular standards five nights a week until she became ill a month ago, was a must-see for Savannah tourists itching to meet a real-life character from author John Berendt’s Southern Gothic best seller. Though the book helped her book performances from New York to Switzerland, Kelly continued to crisscross south Georgia to play church socials and high school graduations, Kiwanis luncheons and wedding receptions. Berendt devoted an entire chapter to Kelly in the 1994 book, describing her as a teetotaling Baptist who would play smoky cocktail lounges Saturday nights and Sunday school classes the next morning. Kelly performed at her own nightclub, Emma’s, in Savannah, for five years in the late 1980s. She then bounced between lounges near the downtown riverfront. She also independently recorded three albums, the last of which were released posthumously, her son said.

. 2001 ~ Jazz musician, composer and conductor Norris Turney, who played alto sax and flute with the Duke Ellington Orchestra and led the Norris Turney Quartet, died of kidney failure at the age of 79. Turney recorded with a number of bands over the years, and toured with Billy Eckstine, Ray Charles and others. He was an original member of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra directed by Wynton Marsalis. Turney’s lone CD as a bandleader, “Big, Sweet ‘N Blue,” was warmly received by jazz critics.

. 2002 ~ Edouard Nies-Berger, the veteran organist and protege of Albert Schweitzer, died at the age of 98. Nies-Berger, who played with the New York Philharmonic, was a native of Strasbourg in Alsace. His father, a church organist, was an associate of Schweitzer. The doctor, philosopher and Nobel laureate was pastor of a nearby church where the teenage Nies-Berger played occasionally. Nies-Berger moved to New York in 1922 and for the next 15 years played the organ in houses of worship across the country. By the mid-’30s he settled in Los Angeles and performed in the soundtracks of several films, including “The Bride of Frankenstein” and “San Francisco.” He returned to Europe in 1937 to study conducting with Bruno Walter in Salzburg, Austria. After conducting for two years in Latvia and Belgium he returned to the United States. He was named organist of the New York Philharmonic, where he played under the direction of such conductors as Walter, George Szell and Leonard Bernstein. Nies-Berger was reunited with Schweitzer in 1949, when the humanitarian visited the United States. For six years they collaborated on the completion of Schweitzer’s edition of the organ music of Johann Sebastian Bach. After serving at St. Paul’s in Richmond, Nies-Berger returned to Europe for several years to perform as a recitalist and write several books, including a memoir of Schweitzer. In 1991 he was awarded the gold medal of the Art Institute of Alsace, and in 1993 was named a knight of the arts and letters by the French Ministry of Education and Culture.

. 2013 ~ Lizbeth Webb, English soprano, died at the age of 86

August 23 ~ in Music History

today

• 1854 ~ Moritz Moszkowski, Polish-born German pianist and composer
More information about Moszkowski

• 1900 ~ Ernst Krenek, Austrian-born American composer, conductor and pianist

• 1905 ~ Constant Lambert, British composer, conductor and writer

• 1912 ~ Gene (Eugene Curran) Kelly, Dancer, actor: Singin’ in the Rain, An American in Paris, Anchors Aweigh, The Three Musketeers, Marjorie Morningstar, Inherit the Wind, North and South Book I; director: Singin’ in the Rain, Hello, Dolly!, A Guide for the Married Man, The Cheyenne Social Club

• 1917 ~ Tex (Sol) Williams, American country-western singer

• 1923 ~ Billy Jones and Ernie Hare, The Happiness Boys, were heard on radio for the first time. The two were billed as radio’s first comedians and were also credited with creating and performing the first singing commercial.

• 1936 ~ Rudy Lewis, Singer with Drifters

• 1942 ~ Patricia McBride, Ballerina: New York City Ballet. For many years she was Mikhail Baryshnikov’s only partner

• 1943 ~ LIFE magazine spotlighted a dance craze that was sweeping the U.S.A., the Lindy Hop

• 1947 ~ Keith Moon, Singer, drummer with The Who

• 1947 ~ Margaret Truman, daughter of U.S. President Harry S Truman, presented her first public concert.  Margaret sang before 15,000 people at the Hollywood Bowl. The concert did not get great reviews. In fact, the critics didn’t like Margaret’s singing at all. And Margaret’s dad didn’t like the critics, and said so, from the White House.

• 1949 ~ Rick Springfield, Singer

• 1951 ~ Mark Hudson, Singer with The Hudson Brothers

• 1951 ~ Jimi Jamison, Singer with Survivor

• 1953 ~ Bobby G. (Gubby), Singer with Bucks Fizz

• 1960 ~ Oscar (Greeley Clendenning) Hammerstein II passed away
More information about Hammerstein

• 1962 ~ Shaun Ryder, Singer with Happy Mondays

• 1966 ~ The U.S. premiere of the motion picture Help!, starring The Beatles, was held for thousands of moviegoers wanting to see the group’s first, color, motion picture. Their first film, A Hard Day’s Night, had been produced in black and white.

• 1990 ~ David Rose passed away

• 2001 ~ Kathleen Freeman, a veteran character actress whose face if not her name was known to audiences from television sitcoms, the film classic “Singin’ in the Rain” and Broadway’s “The Full Monty,” died of lung cancer at the age of  82.
Freeman gave her final performance in “The Full Monty”. She played a sassy piano player in the hit musical and earned a Tony nomination in May 2001.

Big, brash and funny were Freeman’s trademarks in playing recalcitrant maids, demented nuns, mouthy housekeepers, battle-ax mothers, irate landladies and nosy neighbors.

Starting in the Golden Age of television, Freeman appeared in such shows as “Topper,” “The Donna Reed Show,” “The Beverly Hillbillies,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “Hogan’s Heroes,” “The Lucy Show,” “The Golden Girls,” “Murphy Brown” and “Married … With Children.”

“This will sound very corny and I’m sorry,” Freeman said last year in an Associated Press interview, “but I have always had the sense I was put here to do this: I am somebody who is around to help the world laugh. I have always had that sense. Corny but absolutely true.”

In “Singin’ in the Rain,” considered by many to be the best movie musical ever made, she played Jean Hagen’s frustrated voice teacher. Among Freeman’s other films were the sci-fi thriller “The Fly,” “The Rounders” with Henry Fonda, “Far Country” with Jimmy Stewart, and “North to Alaska” starring John Wayne. More recently she appeared in “Dragnet,” “Gremlins II,” “Nutty Professor II: The Klumps” and both “Blues Brothers” comedies.

Freeman was born in Chicago and was propelled into show business at age 2. Her parents had a vaudeville act, Dixon and Freeman, in which their daughter did a little dance.

Freeman attended the University of California at Los Angeles, where she majored in music and was going to be a classical pianist. Then, she said, “A terrible thing happened. I got in a play and got a laugh. I just said a line and, `boom.”‘

Freeman then worked in many small theater groups, including the Circle Players, acting for such eminent directors – and actors – as Charles Laughton, Charlie Chaplin and Robert Morley.

At the same time, the early 1950s, the television explosion took over Los Angeles. From her first regular sitcom role, as the maid in “Topper,” Freeman went on to do just about every sitcom of the last 50 years.

For all her voluminous credits, Freeman’s stage credits were mostly on the road – touring as Miss Hannigan in “Annie” for 18 months, then in “Deathtrap” and later with Lauren Bacall in “Woman of the Year.”

Her only other Broadway appearance was for five months in the 1978 production of “13 Rue de l’Amore” starring Louis Jordan.

• 2001 ~ Frank Emilio Flynn, a blind pianist and Latin jazz pioneer who performed with many great American jazz artists, died at the age of 80.

Flynn lost his sight at age 13 but continued to study and perform classical works, transcribed into Braille, with the Symphonic Orchestra of Havana.

Flynn’s great passion was jazz, and in the 1950s he developed his own jazz-influenced ballad style, known in Cuba as “feeling.”

Performing with the Quinteto Cubana de Musica Moderno, or Cuban Quintet of Modern Music, he developed into one of the most important Cuban jazz musicians of his era.

He played at New York’s Lincoln Center in 1998 with trumpeters Alfredo Armenteros and Wynton Marsalis.

• 2018 ~ George Walker, Trailblazing American Composer, died at the age of 96

July 2 ~ Daily Listening Assignment

 

Today’s piece is Antonin Dvořák’s Humoresque #7.

Humoresques Op. 101 (B. 187), is a piano cycle by the Czech composer Antonín Dvořák, written during the summer of 1894. One writer says “the seventh Humoresque is probably the most famous small piano work ever written after Beethoven’s Für Elise.

Yo Yo Ma (cello) and Itzhak Perlman (violin

Orchestra:

 

Ragtime:

 

Jazz with Wynton Marsalis on trumpet

Zez Confrey gave this a makeover and included Way Down Upon the Swanee River:

 

Find the original Humoresque on IMSLP.. The O’Connor Music Studio Lending Library has versions of Humoresque available at several levels and Confey’s Humorestless played in the video above.

 

January 17 in Music History

today

. 1712 ~ John Stanley, English composer and organist

. 1728 ~ Johann Gottfried Muthel, German composer and noted keyboard virtuoso

. 1734 ~ François-Joseph Gossec, Belgian composer
More information about Gossec

. 1750 ~ Tomaso Albinioni, Italian composer (Adagio in G Minor), died at the age of 78

. 1876 ~ The saxophone was played by Etta Morgan at New York City’s Olympic Theatre. The instrument was little known at the time in the United States.

. 1913 ~ Vido Musso, Reed instruments, played with Benny Goodman, bandleader: Stan Kenton was his pianist

. 1917 ~ Ulysses Simpson Kay, US composer, born in Tucson, Arizona (d. 1995)

. 1920 ~ George Handy (George Joseph Hendleman), Pianist, composer, arranger for the Boyd Raeburn band, Alvino Rey band, Paramount Studios

. 1922 ~ Betty White, Emmy Award-winning actress on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, singer

. 1926 ~ Moira Shearer, Ballerina

. 1927 ~ Eartha Kitt, Singer. Kitt’s birth certificate listing her actual birthdate as 1/17/27 was found in 1997. She has celebrated her birthday as Jan. 26 (1928) all of her life and says, “It’s been the 26th of January since the beginning of time and I’m not going to change it and confuse my fans.”

. 1941 ~ Gene Krupa and his band recorded the standard, Drum Boogie, on Okeh Records. The lady singing with the boys in the band during the song’s chorus was Irene Daye.

. 1944 ~ Chris Montez, Singer

. 1948 ~ Mick Taylor, Singer, rhythm guitar with The Rolling Stones

. 1955 ~ Steve Earle, Songwriter, singer, guitar

. 1956 ~ Paul Young, Singer

. 1959 ~ Susanna Hoffs, Singer, guitar with The Bangles

. 1960 ~ John Crawford, Singer, bass with Berlin

. 1969 ~ Lady Samantha, one of the very first recordings by Reginald Kenneth Dwight (aka Elton John), was released in England on Philips records. The song floundered, then bombed. The rock group, Three Dog Night, however, recorded it for an album.

. 2001 ~ Pianist and singer Emma Kelly, the “Lady of 6,000 Songs” made famous by the book “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” died from a liver ailment at the age of 82. Kelly’s nightclub act, in which she tapped her vast repertoire of American popular standards five nights a week until she became ill a month ago, was a must-see for Savannah tourists itching to meet a real-life character from author John Berendt’s Southern Gothic best seller. Though the book helped her book performances from New York to Switzerland, Kelly continued to crisscross south Georgia to play church socials and high school graduations, Kiwanis luncheons and wedding receptions. Berendt devoted an entire chapter to Kelly in the 1994 book, describing her as a teetotaling Baptist who would play smoky cocktail lounges Saturday nights and Sunday school classes the next morning. Kelly performed at her own nightclub, Emma’s, in Savannah, for five years in the late 1980s. She then bounced between lounges near the downtown riverfront. She also independently recorded three albums, the last of which were released posthumously, her son said.

. 2001 ~ Jazz musician, composer and conductor Norris Turney, who played alto sax and flute with the Duke Ellington Orchestra and led the Norris Turney Quartet, died of kidney failure at the age of 79. Turney recorded with a number of bands over the years, and toured with Billy Eckstine, Ray Charles and others. He was an original member of the Lincoln target=”_blank”Center Jazz Orchestra directed by Wynton Marsalis. Turney’s lone CD as a band leader, “Big, Sweet ‘N Blue,” was warmly received by jazz critics.

. 2002 ~ Edouard Nies-Berger, the veteran organist and protege of Albert Schweitzer, died at the age of 98. Nies-Berger, who played with the New York Philharmonic, was a native of Strasbourg in Alsace. His father, a church organist, was an associate of Schweitzer. The doctor, philosopher and Nobel laureate was pastor of a nearby church where the teen- age Nies-Berger played occasionally. Nies-Berger moved to New York in 1922 and for the next 15 years played the organ in houses of worship across the country. By the mid-’30s he settled in Los Angeles and performed in the soundtracks of several films, including “The Bride of Frankenstein” and “San Francisco.” He returned to Europe in 1937 to study conducting with Bruno Walter in Salzburg, Austria. After conducting for two years in Latvia and Belgium he returned to the United States. He was named organist of the New York Philharmonic, where he played under the direction of such conductors as Walter, George Szell and Leonard Bernstein. Nies-Berger was reunited with Schweitzer in 1949, when the humanitarian visited the United States. For six years they collaborated on the completion of Schweitzer’s edition of the organ music of Johann Sebastian Bach. After serving at St. Paul’s in Richmond, Nies-Berger returned to Europe for several years to perform as a recitalist and write several books, including a memoir of Schweitzer. In 1991 he was awarded the gold medal of the Art Institute of Alsace, and in 1993 was named a knight of the arts and letters by the French Ministry of Education and Culture.

. 2013 ~ Lizbeth Webb, English soprano, died at the age of 86

August 23 ~ This Day in Music History

today

• 1854 ~ Moritz Moszkowski, Polish-born German pianist and composer
More information about Moszkowski

• 1900 ~ Ernst Krenek, Austrian-born American composer, conductor and pianist

• 1905 ~ Constant Lambert, British composer, conductor and writer

• 1912 ~ Gene (Eugene Curran) Kelly, Dancer, actor: Singin’ in the Rain, An American in Paris, Anchors Aweigh, The Three Musketeers, Marjorie Morningstar, Inherit the Wind, North and South Book I; director: Singin’ in the Rain, Hello, Dolly!, A Guide for the Married Man, The Cheyenne Social Club

• 1917 ~ Tex (Sol) Williams, Singer

• 1923 ~ Billy Jones and Ernie Hare, The Happiness Boys, were heard on radio for the first time. The two were billed as radio’s first comedians and were also credited with creating and performing the first singing commercial.

• 1936 ~ Rudy Lewis, Singer with Drifters

• 1942 ~ Patricia McBride, Ballerina: New York City Ballet. For many years she was Mikhail Baryshnikov’s only partner

• 1943 ~ LIFE magazine spotlighted a dance craze that was sweeping the U.S.A., the Lindy Hop

• 1947 ~ Keith Moon, Singer, drummer with The Who

• 1947 ~ Margaret Truman, daughter of U.S. President Harry S Truman, presented her first public concert.  Margaret sang before 15,000 people at the Hollywood Bowl. The concert did not get great reviews. In fact, the critics didn’t like Margaret’s singing at all. And Margaret’s dad didn’t like the critics, and said so, from the White House.

• 1949 ~ Rick Springfield, Singer

• 1951 ~ Mark Hudson, Singer with The Hudson Brothers

• 1951 ~ Jimi Jamison, Singer with Survivor

• 1953 ~ Bobby G. (Gubby), Singer with Bucks Fizz

• 1960 ~ Oscar (Greeley Clendenning) Hammerstein II passed away
More information about Hammerstein

• 1962 ~ Shaun Ryder, Singer with Happy Mondays

• 1966 ~ The U.S. premiere of the motion picture Help!, starring The Beatles, was held for thousands of moviegoers wanting to see the group’s first, color, motion picture. Their first film, A Hard Day’s Night, had been produced in black and white.

• 1990 ~ David Rose passed away

• 2001 ~ Kathleen Freeman, a veteran character actress whose face if not her name was known to audiences from television sitcoms, the film classic “Singin’ in the Rain” and Broadway’s “The Full Monty,” died of lung cancer at the age of  82.
Freeman gave her final performance in “The Full Monty”. She played a sassy piano player in the hit musical and earned a Tony nomination in May 2001.

Big, brash and funny were Freeman’s trademarks in playing recalcitrant maids, demented nuns, mouthy housekeepers, battle-ax mothers, irate landladies and nosy neighbors.

Starting in the Golden Age of television, Freeman appeared in such shows as “Topper,” “The Donna Reed Show,” “The Beverly Hillbillies,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “Hogan’s Heroes,” “The Lucy Show,” “The Golden Girls,” “Murphy Brown” and “Married … With Children.”

“This will sound very corny and I’m sorry,” Freeman said last year in an Associated Press interview, “but I have always had the sense I was put here to do this: I am somebody who is around to help the world laugh. I have always had that sense. Corny but absolutely true.”

In “Singin’ in the Rain,” considered by many to be the best movie musical ever made, she played Jean Hagen’s frustrated voice teacher. Among Freeman’s other films were the sci-fi thriller “The Fly,” “The Rounders” with Henry Fonda, “Far Country” with Jimmy Stewart, and “North to Alaska” starring John Wayne. More recently she appeared in “Dragnet,” “Gremlins II,” “Nutty Professor II: The Klumps” and both “Blues Brothers” comedies.

Freeman was born in Chicago and was propelled into show business at age 2. Her parents had a vaudeville act, Dixon and Freeman, in which their daughter did a little dance.

Freeman attended the University of California at Los Angeles, where she majored in music and was going to be a classical pianist. Then, she said, “A terrible thing happened. I got in a play and got a laugh. I just said a line and, `boom.”‘

Freeman then worked in many small theater groups, including the Circle Players, acting for such eminent directors – and actors – as Charles Laughton, Charlie Chaplin and Robert Morley.

At the same time, the early 1950s, the television explosion took over Los Angeles. From her first regular sitcom role, as the maid in “Topper,” Freeman went on to do just about every sitcom of the last 50 years.

For all her voluminous credits, Freeman’s stage credits were mostly on the road – touring as Miss Hannigan in “Annie” for 18 months, then in “Deathtrap” and later with Lauren Bacall in “Woman of the Year.”

Her only other Broadway appearance was for five months in the 1978 production of “13 Rue de l’Amore” starring Louis Jordan.

• 2001 ~ Frank Emilio Flynn, a blind pianist and Latin jazz pioneer who performed with many great American jazz artists, died at the age of 80.

Flynn lost his sight at age 13 but continued to study and perform classical works, transcribed into Braille, with the Symphonic Orchestra of Havana.

Flynn’s great passion was jazz, and in the 1950s he developed his own jazz-influenced ballad style, known in Cuba as “feeling.”

Performing with the Quinteto Cubana de Musica Moderno, or Cuban Quintet of Modern Music, he developed into one of the most important Cuban jazz musicians of his era.

More recently, he played at New York’s Lincoln Center in 1998 with trumpeters Alfredo Armenteros and Wynton Marsalis.