Every once in a while, I get in the mood to listen to some Billie Holiday music.
I was watching the “Billie Holiday: Ultimate Collection” on DVD, and in the features or extras was an interview she did with Mike Wallace.
It was interesting to actually hear her, because I’d never listened to an interview with her before.
If, like me, you watched Diana Ross play her in the movie “Lady Sings The Blues” named after her autobiography, you’ll find, after listening to her on Mike Wallace, that Ross completely over-dramatized her in the movie. Ross is known to be overly dramatic.
At any rate, after listening to the real Lady Day, I think you will find her to be surprisingly down to earth and modest.
The death of Art Tatum (October 13, 1909 – November 5, 1956) is mentioned as just happening, so this must have been done about November of 1956. I think the poignant thing is, Mike Asks Billie about why the Jazz greats seem to die so young, when she herself died three years later.
A few other interviews can be found on youtube, but they tend to be geared towards the interviewer pushing a radio station or club, so they are not in-depth interviews.