THE LAST DAYS OF BILLIE HOLIDAY

Billie Holiday, born in 1915, was arrested as a prostitute at the early age of fourteen. She had a very sad life, growing up in a childhood where her mother reportedly lived as a prostitute and her father was absent. Although she had a great singing voice, she could not express her mood in a few short minutes on the jazz 78s of the 1930s. However, Holiday’s voice and phrasing were gold and she was the first jazz singer to stand out in the 1930s.

The ABC reality series “Story Comeback” featured her attempts to discuss her misfortunes and overcome them. However, her health showed the effects of declining vocal vibrancy, and it grew coarse as she projected her voice longer. Unfortunately, her relationships with abusive men and drug abuse caused her health to deteriorate. In the 1950s, Billie Holiday’s past demons of drinking and drug abuse were not enough to conquer. She saw success at the height of her career in the 1930s, working with jazz greats like Teddy Wilson, Artie Shaw, and Count Basie. However, she only broke barriers of color and not the barriers that held her back.

Like Arthur Murray dance schools, a series of Billie Holiday vocal studios, McKay had intentions to initiate, although he did attempt to assist her in overcoming substance abuse. Similar to the majority of the individuals in her life, who were oppressive, Holiday wedded Louis McKay, a Mafia enforcer. On March 28, 1957, they were estranged during the period of her demise.

The recordings of Billie Holiday’s earlier work for Decca and Commodore labels, as well as her later recordings for Verve, are popular as a third of her commercial legacy. It always had that distinctive edge that it never lost, but her voice became more fragile in later years.

However, despite the efforts of her friends Leonard Feather, Joe Glaser, and Allan Morrison, she resisted their suggestion to seek medical treatment in a hospital. By the month of May, she had experienced a weight loss of twenty pounds. Eventually, she resumed her excessive alcohol consumption, albeit for a brief period, despite the doctor’s advice to cease drinking. It was in early 1959 when she discovered that she was afflicted with liver cirrhosis.

The Church of St. Paul the Apostle in New York City hosted her funeral ceremony. At the time of her passing on July 17, 1959, she only had $0.70 in her bank account and $750 (a payment from a tabloid) on her person. In the last years of her life, she was gradually conned out of her earnings and was kept under police surveillance at the hospital until her demise due to cirrhosis of the liver on July 17, 1959, which led to pulmonary edema and heart failure. The entrance to her hospital room was guarded by police officers. While she was on her deathbed, she was apprehended for possession of drugs, and authorities conducted a search of her hospital room. On May 31, 1959, Holiday was admitted to Metropolitan Hospital in New York due to her liver and heart ailments.

The sleeve notes from 1961 that were written by Gilbert Millstein of The New York Times, who had also been the narrator at Billie Holiday’s 1956 Carnegie Hall concerts, described her death in the album The Essential Billie Holiday.

She would not have eventually been removed from any court jurisdiction, although it is possible that she would have been removed herself. The morning after, she was arraigned with the belief that she was a greatly talented and generous woman of 44, with thoughts that were profane, sentimental, cynical, and among the last that exists. Among these thoughts, there is a likelihood that only one kind of excess drugs had been consumed – worms. She had physically wasted herself into a grotesque and small caricature, but she had been strikingly beautiful. Her life was pitiful and disorderly, like the few hours before her death, during which she lay mortally ill in a hospital room that had been removed by the police guard on court order. She had been arrested for illegal possession of narcotics, which had been found in her bed. She died on Friday, July 17, 1959, in the Metropolitan Hospital in New York, before the arrival of the Holiday Billie.