Abbie Mitchell Photo

Abbie Mitchell

Born: Sep 25, 1884

Death: Mar 16, 1960

Profession: Singer

Nationality: United States

Abbie Mitchell

Date of Birth : Sep 25, 1884
Date of Death : Mar 16, 1960

Abriea "Abbie" Mitchell Cook, also billed as Abbey Mitchell, was an American soprano opera singer who sang the role of "Clara" in the premier production of George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess in 1935, and was also the first to record "Summertime" from that musical. Mitchell was the daughter of an African-American mother and a Jewish-German father from New York City's Lower East Side. She was reared by a maternal aunt, Alice Payne, in Baltimore, Maryland, where she attended a convent school. After finishing her school education in Baltimore, she started studying voice in New York in 1897. The next year composer Will Marion Cook and lyricist Paul L. Dunbar cast her in their musical comedy Clorindy; or, the Origin of the Cakewalk. It was so successful that it ran for the whole season at the Casino Roof Garden. She married Cook a year later, and appeared in the lead role in his Jes Lak White Folks. She also appeared in his production The Southerners. Cook and Mitchell had a daughter, Marion Abigail Cook, in 1900, and a son, Will Mercer Cook, in 1903. Their daughter, raised by family members as had been Mitchell herself, married dancer Louis Douglas.


  • Singer
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