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Eleanor Collins Death: How Did She Die?

Many people’s hearts will never forget the loss of Eleanor Collins, a highly respected person in the entertainment industry. Collins is acclaimed in history for her groundbreaking work in jazz and for being the first Black woman to lead a national television program in Canada.

Admirers of her ability and trailblazing attitude have been reflecting and grieving since her passing. This article aims to celebrate Eleanor Collins’ accomplishments, pay tribute to her legacy, and remember the significant influence she had on the music industry and beyond as we say goodbye to her.

Eleanor Collins Death

The late singer Eleanor Collins, regarded as Canada’s first lady of jazz, passed away. She was 104 years old. Collins, who collaborated with other greats, including Dizzy Gillespie and Oscar Peterson, passed away on Sunday, March 3, according to a family member who spoke with CBC. The cause of death remains undisclosed.

Born on November 21, 1919, in Edmonton to parents of African American and Creole descent, Collins moved to Vancouver in 1938 and started doing theater and club appearances.

She began her career as the first Black TV host in North America and as a Canadian woman singer with the groundbreaking CBC Vancouver variety show Bamboula: A Day in the West Indies. In 1955, she became the first to headline a national television program with CBC’s The Eleanor Show, which preceded the Nat King Cole Show.

In 1964, she co-hosted Eleanor, her second television show, alongside the Chris Gage Trio. Throughout her lengthy career, she also made several appearances on radio and TV variety shows. As recently as 2016, Collins performed Leon Bibb’s memorial service.

A 2022 commemorative stamp was issued by Canada Post in recognition of her legacy. She was inducted into the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame and is a member of the Order of Canada.

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Eleanor Collins’s Music Career

She won an Edmonton talent contest at 15. Later, she sang with Joe Macelli’s dance band, the Three Es, and CFRN. After moving to Vancouver in 1938, Collins joined the gospel group Swing Low Quartette with her sisters Ruby Sneed, Edna Panky, and Zandy Price.

From 1940 until 1942, they performed on CBC Radio. In 1945, she sang with Ray Norris’ jazz quintet on CBC Radio’s Serenade in Rhythm, which aired to troops overseas for several years.

She performed at Theatre Under the Stars in Finian’s Rainbow (1952 and 1954), Kiss Me, Kate (1953), and You Can’t Take it With You after a brief retirement from 1948 to 1952.

First multiracial cast in Canada and first variety series produced in Vancouver, she appeared in CBC Vancouver’s Bamboula: A Day in the West Indies in 1954. CBC invited her to star in The Eleanor Show, which lasted from June 19 to September 11, 1955, making her the first woman, person of color, and jazz singer to headline a national TV show before the Nat King Cole Show.

Blues and the Ballad, Eleanor Sings the Blues, Were You There?, and Quintet followed in 1960–1962. Eleanor, her second television show, aired from February 1 to March 2, 1964, with the Chris Gage Trio performing. Her CBC and CTV radio and TV appearances in the 1960s and 1970s kept her in Canada despite offers to move to the U.S.

She sang in clubs and concerts with Chris Gage, Lance Harrison, Doug Parker, and Dave Robbins, in addition to TV and radio variety shows. She recorded with Ray Norris in 1951 and performed on 1960s CBC broadcast CDs by Gage and Robbins, often compared to Lena Horne and Ella Fitzgerald. Her sole recordings were for CBC.

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