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Lady Sings the Blues

Release Date:October 12, 1972
Running time:144 minutes
Cast:Diana Ross, James T. Callahan, Billy Dee Williams, Robert L. Gordy, Richard Pryor
Director:Sidney J. Furie
Producer:Brad Dexter, Jay Weston
Writer:Chris Clark, Suzanne De Passe
Distributor:Paramount Pictures

Description: Diana Ross plays the magnificent, tragic song stylist Billie Holiday, who while writhing in a strait jacket in a prison cell, awaiting sentencing on drug charges, reflects on her turbulent life. Raped in her youth by a drunk (Adolph Caesar), then compelled to work as a domestic in a Harlem whorehouse, Holliday is encouraged to try for a singing career by the bordello's pianist (Richard Pryor). She rises as high as it is possible to go in the white-dominated show business world of the 1930s, but can't handle the pressure and turns to narcotics. The film takes several liberties with the 44-year existence of Lady Day. Among the Billie Holiday standards performed by Ross are My Man, I Cried for You, Lover Man, Them There Eyes, and the title song.~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

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