Duke Ellington

Duke the Great American Composer, Pianist, and Bandleader Spanning 50 Musical Years of his Life

Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington was born in Washington, D.C. April 29, 1899. Both of his parents were pianists. He became an American composer, bandleader of jazz orchestras, and pianist. Ellington wrote more than one thousand compositions. Before he was famous his mother surrounded herself with dignified women, so Ellington would grow up learning proper etiquette. It seemed to work, because the childhood friends Ellington had noticed his noble like dress and behavior and started calling him “Duke” Ellington.  Duke Ellington won the special Pulitzer Prize after he had passed away in 1999. Duke Ellington married his high school sweetheart July 2, 1918 and they had one son, Mercer Kennedy Ellington, March 11, 1919. They permantely separated in the late 1920s and in 1928 Ellington took a companion named Mildred Dixon who inspired much of his musical career. About ten years later he left his family and pursued relationships with a few other women over the upcoming years of his life. Duke Ellington died on May 24, 1974 from complications from lung cancer and pneumonia.