Ethel was the first black woman to perform on radio.
Ethel was born after her mother was raped as a teenager.
Ethel Waters was the author of two autobiographies -- His Eye Is On The Sparrow (1951) and To Me It's Wonderful (1972).
Her final theatrical film role was in "The Sound and the Fury" (1957).
Her first dramatic role on Broadway was in the play "Mamba's Daughter."
As a child, she worked as a chambermaid for $4.75 a week.
The songwriter Irving Berlin cast her in his 1933 musical revue "As Thousands Cheer" where she introduced the hit songs "Heat Wave", "Harlem On My Mind", and "Supper Time".
Her first film appearance was in the 1929 Warner Bros. musical "On With the Show".
She died at age 80 in the Chatsworth, Ca. home of a young couple that was caring for her.
She married the first of her three husbands at the age of 12.
She headlined at Harlem's famous Cotton Club.
She starred in the popular Broadway Negro revues: "Africana" (1927), "Blackbird" (1930), and "Rhapsody in Black" (1931).
One of the most popular jazz/blues singers of the 1920s, she introduced such classic songs as "Dinah", "Am I Blue," and "Stormy Weather."
She won the New York Drama Critic's Circle Award for her performance in "A Member of the Wedding" (1952).
The U.S. Postal Service issued an Ethel Waters commemorative stamp in 1994.
A deeply religious woman, she spent her later years traveling with the Rev. Billy Graham.
She appeared on Broadway for the first time in the musical revue "Africana" (1927).
In her younger days, she toured on the black vaudeville circuit under the name "Sweet Mama Stringbean."
She posthumously won a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1998.
Ethel Water's name was placed in the Gospel Music Hall of Fame (1984).
She was the second African-American actress to ever be nominated for an Academy Award when she appeared in the film "Pinky." (1949)
Ethel Waters became the first African-American actress to be nominated for an Emmy for her 10/6/1961 appearance on "Good Night, Sweet Blues" on the series Route 66.
Ethel Waters appeared on television in 1939 when she made two experimental programs for NBC: Mamba's Daughters and The Ethel Waters Show.
Ethel Waters: There was one emotional outlet my people had when they had the blues. That was singing.