Annie Ross dead: Scotland's 'Shirley Temple' dies aged 89

Jazz singer Annie Ross has died aged 89.

Annie enjoyed a long career as a stage performer and film and TV actress.

 Her manager Jim Coleman confirmed she had died due to emphysema and heart disease.

Annie had a career in jazz

Annie was a child star, nicknamed Scotland’s Shirley Temple, and later became a jazz singer performing with Count Basie and Duke Ellington.

She was always destined for the stage and began performing when she was just three.

After travelling to New York with her family when she was four, Annie won a six-month contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer through a children’s radio contest and was left with her aunt Ella Logan, an actress and singer in Hollywood.

Annie appeared in films including Our Gang Follies Of 1938 – she is seen singing Loch Lomond aged seven – and Presenting Lily Mars with Judy Garland in 1943.

Annie Ross

In 1947, she went to Paris to sing jazz, where she worked with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.

She also met black drummer Kenny “Klook” Clarke, with whom she had a son, Kenny Clarke Junior.

Back in America, Annie encountered problems because Kenny Jr was a “half breed” child and, combined with her late-night job, she decided to let him be raised by his dad’s brother in Pittsburgh.

Annie Ross on her wedding day with husband Sean Lynch

Her career took off in the 1950s when she became part of the vocal trio Lambert, Hendricks and Ross, winning critical acclaim and commercial success.

In 1963, she married actor Sean Lynch and spent 18 months running a London cabaret called Annie’s Room. But her career waned as tastes changed and she endured a tough time, including divorce in 1975.

Annie experimented with drugs and became hooked on heroin.

Speaking about the dark time in her life at the time, Annie said: She said: “I experimented and found I liked it. I got a habit and I broke it.

“There was no rehab. I did it myself . She said: “One night, my brother Jimmy said to me, ‘I can’t help you any more – that’s it. If you want to kill yourself…’

Annie Ross with brother Jimmy

Annie managed to get clean and returned to the public eye in 1979 when she appeared in the movie Yanks and enjoyed further roles in films including Superman III, The Player and Short Cuts.

Annie was inducted into the ASCAP Jazz Wall of Fame in 2009 and continued to perform in New York until recently.

Following her successful career, a film was made about her life, and No One But Me premiered at the Glasgow Film Festival in 2012.

Just last week, Annie’s friends had started a crowdfunder to help provide her with hospice care as she was too frail to leave her New York home and required around the clock supervision. The findraiser said: “Since we began this ­fundraiser, she continues to deteriorate and has been under hospice care in her apartment. Unfortunately, the cost of healthcare is astronomical and we are running out of funds, and have exhausted our options for more financial assistance.”

The fundraiser managed to gather over $31,000.

The star would have celebrated her 90th birthday this weekend.


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