Pearl Bailey (March 29, 1918 - August 17, 1990) was an American singer and actress. She made her Broadway debut in St. Louis Woman in 1946. She won a Tony Award for the title role in Hello, Dolly! in 1968. Her rendition of "Takes Two to Tango" hit the top ten in 1952.
She was born in Southampton County, Virginia, to Rev. Joseph & Ella Mae Bailey. In 1954, she took the role of Frankie in the film version of Carmen Jones, and her rendition of "Beat Me That Rhythm on the Drum" is one of the highlights of the film. In 1959, she played the role of Maria in the film version of Porgy and Bess, starring Sidney Poitier and Dorothy Dandridge. Also that year she played the role of "Aunt Hagar" in the movie St. Louis Blues alongside Mahalia Jackson, Eartha Kitt, and Nat King Cole. During the 1970s she had her own television show, and she also provided voices for animations such as Tubby the Tuba (1976) and Disney's The Fox and the Hound (1981). Later in life, she earned a B.A. in Theology from Georgetown University in Washington, DC in 1985.
She was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom on October 17, 1988.
She was married to jazz drummer Louie Bellson.