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This Day in History: 1943-12-15

Thomas Wright “Fats” Waller

May 21, 1904 – Dec. 15, 1943 (age 39)

an American jazz pianist, organist, composer, violinist, singer, and comedic entertainer. Famous for the hits Honeysuckle Rose and Ain’t Misbehavin Waller was a prolific song writer and copyrighted over 400 songs, often co-written with Andy Razaf. Waller was once “Kidnapped’ by Al Capone and forced to play piano for Al’s guests at a party. After finishing up his commitment at the Zanzibar room in Santa Monica California he contracted pneumonia. On Dec 15th 1943 he passed and his funeral was held at the Abyssinian church in Harlem New York. His funeral was attended by thousands and it was noted that Fat’s always played to a packed house!

Waller was cremated and his ashes dropped by aircraft over Harlem.

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