African American jazz singer Billie Holiday who had a career spanning nearly thirty years was known for her vocal delivery and improvisational skills. Her hit “What a Little Moonlight Can Do” became a jazz standard.
Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, Holiday had mainstream success on labels such as Columbia and Decca. By the late 1940s, however, she was beset with legal troubles and drug abuse. After a short prison sentence, she performed at a sold-out concert at Carnegie Hall, but her reputation deteriorated because of her drug and alcohol problems.
Her final album, Lady in Satin, was released in 1958. Holiday died of cirrhosis in 1959 at the age of 44.
Holiday won four Grammy Awards, all of them posthumously, for Best Historical Album. She was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1973. In 2017 Holiday was inducted into the National Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame.
These lovely pics of Billie Holiday were photographed by Carl Van Vechten with her dog Mister in 1949.