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Carpenter Paper Co., Salt Lake, Utah via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
Carpenter Paper Co., Salt Lake, Utah via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

The 11 Oldest Amusement Parks in the U.S.

Carpenter Paper Co., Salt Lake, Utah via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
Carpenter Paper Co., Salt Lake, Utah via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

As the Industrial Revolution gave people more leisure time and new modes of transportation opened up travel, amusement parks sprang up all over the United States. Many came and went, but some 19th-century parks are still in operation. Here’s a look at the country's 11 oldest amusement parks that are still in operation.

1. LAKE COMPOUNCE // BRISTOL, CONNECTICUT

Tichnor Brothers via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

The oldest amusement park in the U.S. that is still operating is Lake Compounce in Bristol, Connecticut. The Norton family had owned the lake for generations when Gad Norton opened a public picnic park on the lakeshore in 1846, which also offered swimming and boating. He added rides and an amphitheater for concerts over time. In 1911 the park added a carousel designed by Charles I. D. Looff, which is still in operation and on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Norton family sold the park to the Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company in 1985, which sold it to the Joseph Entertainment Group in 1987. They built a new theater and concentrated on concerts more than family amusements. The park was in the news when Milli Vanilli performed there on July 21, 1989, and were exposed as lip-synchers when their recording began to skip. In 1996, Lake Compounce was acquired by Kennywood Entertainment, and the focus of the park returned to family amusements and thrill rides. The park was purchased by Parques Reunidos in 2007 and even more improvements were made. But the park still goes by its original name, even after 170 years.

2. SIX FLAGS NEW ENGLAND // AGAWAM, MASSACHUSETTS

Tichnor Bros. Inc., Boston, Mass. via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Gallup’s Grove in Agawam, Massachusetts, opened as a picnic park in 1870. The name was soon changed to Riverside Grove, then to Riverside Park when rides were added. The park fell into financial ruin with the Wall Street Crash of 1929, then closed in 1933. In 1939 it was purchased by Edward Carroll, who made improvements and reopened the park in 1940. In 1996 the park was purchased by Premier Parks, which later purchased the Six Flags chain and, in 2000, rebranded the park as Six Flags New England.

3. CEDAR POINT // SANDUSKY, OHIO

Cedar Point Collection via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Sandusky, Ohio's Cedar Point opened in 1870 as a beer garden, bathhouse and dance hall on the shores of Lake Erie. Guests arrived by steamboat ferry until a causeway was built in the 1950s. The first roller coaster, the Switchback Railway, was installed in 1892. More roller coasters were added over the next century, leading to the park being designated "The Roller Coaster Capital of the World.”

4. IDLEWILD // LIGONIER, PENNSYLVANIA

Ron Shawley via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0

Thomas Mellon, founder of the Mellon Bank, bought a railroad and wanted to encourage passengers to use it, so he provided attractions along the route. Idlewild, in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, opened in 1878 as a campground with picnic tables and a fishing lake. That led to fishing cabins, boats, and amusement rides. The park stayed under the Mellon family ownership until 1951 when a partner, C. C. MacDonald, bought out the Mellons. The MacDonald family sold it to Kennywood Entertainment in 1983 and then the Spanish company Parques Reunidos acquired the park in 2008.

5. SEABREEZE // ROCHESTER, NEW YORK

Irondequoit is a suburb of Rochester, New York, at the point where Irondequoit Bay meets Lake Ontario. It was here that Seabreeze opened on August 5, 1879. It was a trolley park that proved to be quite popular. Rides began to be added in 1900. The park’s name was changed to Dreamland in 1940 and then back to Seabreeze in 1970.

6. DORNEY PARK // ALLENTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA

In 1860, Solomon Dorney built a fish hatchery in Allentown, Pennsylvania—then gradually realized that he was making more money from people who came to fish and picnic than from his fish. So he added a petting zoo and made grand plans to expand his enterprise. Dorney added rides and in 1884 opened Dorney's Trout Ponds and Summer Resort. That was soon shortened to Dorney’s Park and then Dorney Park. Dorney sold the park in 1923, and it has since gone through several owners. The current owner is Cedar Fair Entertainment Company.

7. CONEY ISLAND // CINCINNATI, OHIO

Jeremy Thompson via Flickr // CC BY 2.0

James Parker’s apple orchard in Cincinnati, Ohio, was sold to a group of investors in 1886 and turned into a theme park called Ohio Grove, The Coney Island of the West. The unwieldy name was shortened to Coney Island a year later. The park flourished until a new park was built in Cincinnati. Taft Broadcasting bought Coney Island in 1968 and transferred the rides and most of its other assets to its new Kings Island amusement park. Coney Island closed after the 1971 season, but it still had its water park, which reopened in 1972. In the years since, more rides and attractions have been added to Coney Island. While it will probably never be as big as Kings Island, Coney Island still lives on.

8. LAGOON // FARMINGTON, UTAH

Carpenter Paper Co., Salt Lake, Utah via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Lagoon is an amusement park that opened on the banks of the Great Salt Lake in 1886. The lake then receded, and what was then called Lake Park was moved to Farmington, Utah, just a few miles away, in 1896. The new location had a pond, so the name was changed to Lagoon. A fire devastated the park in 1953, but it was rebuilt much bigger, with a new Kiddieland and a concert arena.

9. ARNOLDS PARK // ARNOLDS PARK, IOWA

Martin Lewison via Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

As the U.S. expended westward, folks discovered the beautiful lake country of Iowa. Wesley Arnold bought property on the shores of West Lake Okoboji in 1864. He opened a hotel in 1882 to accommodate travelers and vacationers. As the family built more accommodations and attractions, the land came to be called Arnolds Park. In 1885, a post office was established at the hotel, which marked the founding of the town of Arnolds Park. When Arnold built a wooden waterslide on the edge of the lake in 1889, Arnolds Park became an amusement park. The park grew and flourished for the next 100 years, but was damaged from a riot in 1965 and a tornado in 1968. It closed in 1988, but was purchased by investors in 1989 who rebuilt the park into what it is today.

10. CONNEAUT LAKE PARK // CONNEAUT LAKE, PENNSYLVANIA

Junction118 via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Exposition Park opened in 1892 on the banks of Conneaut Lake in the town of Conneaut Lake, Pennsylvania. Colonel Frank Mantor intended it as not only a lakeside resort, with a hotel, convention hall, and beach, but also as a place to show off the livestock and technology of western Pennsylvania. More buildings were added for parties and exhibits, and the first ride—a steam-powered carousel—was added in 1899. A railroad company bought the park in 1901, and added rail service and more hotels. The name was officially changed to Conneaut Lake Park in 1920. With several ownership changes, the park began to have financial troubles in the 1970s, and admission was charged for the first time in 1990. Visits declined, and the park closed in 1995. A group of investors resurrected it in 1996, and in 2001, the park was taken over by a nonprofit community trust. The park is still dealing with bankruptcy, but is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

11. LAKEMONT PARK // ALTOONA, PENNSYLVANIA

Lakemont Park in Altoona, Pennsylvania, opened in 1894 as a trolley park, a park placed at the end of a trolley line to encourage riders to take advantage of the entire range of routes. The park’s prized possession is Leap-the-Dips, the oldest operating roller coaster in the world. It was built in 1902 and decommissioned in 1985, then restored and put back into operation in 1999. The wooden coaster is a National Historic Landmark.

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25 Royals in the Line of Succession to the British Throne
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Dan Kitwood, Getty Images

Between the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcoming their third child on April 23, 2018 and Prince Harry's upcoming marriage to Suits star Meghan Markle in May, the line of succession to the British throne has become a topic of interest all over the world. And the truth is, it’s complicated. Though Queen Elizabeth II, who turned 92 years old on April 21, shows no signs of slowing down, here are the royals who could one day take her place on the throne—in one very specific order.

1. PRINCE CHARLES

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As a direct result of his mother being the world's longest-reigning monarch, Prince Charles—the eldest child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip—is the longest serving heir to the throne; he became heir apparent in 1952, when his mother ascended to the throne.

2. PRINCE WILLIAM

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At 35 years old, odds are good that Prince William, Duke of Cambridge—the eldest son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana—will ascend to the throne at some point in his lifetime.

3. PRINCE GEORGE 

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On July 22, 2013, Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge welcomed their first child, Prince George of Cambridge, who jumped the line to step ahead of his uncle, Prince Harry, to become third in the line of succession.

4. PRINCESS CHARLOTTE 

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On May 2, 2015, William and Catherine added another member to their growing brood: a daughter, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge. Though her parents just welcomed a bouncing baby boy, she will maintain the fourth-in-line position because of the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, which went into effect just a few weeks before her arrival, and removed a long-held rule which stated that any male sibling (regardless of birth order) would automatically move ahead of her.

5. PRINCE OF CAMBRIDGE

 Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge depart the Lindo Wing with their newborn son at St Mary's Hospital on April 23, 2018 in London, England
Chris Jackson, Getty Images

On April 23, 2018, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcomed their third child—a son, whose name has yet to be announced, but who has already pushed his uncle, Prince Harry, out of the fifth position in line to the throne.

6. PRINCE HARRY

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As the second-born son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, Prince Harry's place in the line is a regularly changing one. It changed earlier this week, when his brother William's third child arrived, and could change again if and when their family expands.

7. PRINCE ANDREW, DUKE OF YORK

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Prince Andrew is a perfect example of life before the Succession to the Crown Act 2013: Though he’s the second-born son of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, he’s actually their third child (Princess Anne came between him and Prince Charles). But because the rules gave preference to males, Prince Andrew would inherit the throne before his older sister.

8. PRINCESS BEATRICE OF YORK

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Because Prince Andrew and his ex-wife, Sarah, Duchess of York, had two daughters and no sons, none of that male-preference primogeniture stuff mattered in terms of their placement. But with each child her cousin Prince William has, Princess Beatrice moves farther away from the throne. If Beatrice looks familiar, it might be because of the headlines she made with the Dr. Seuss-like hat she wore to William and Catherine’s wedding. (The infamous topper later sold on eBay for more than $130,000, all of which went to charity.)

9. PRINCESS EUGENIE OF YORK

Princess Eugenie of York arrives in the parade ring during Royal Ascot 2017 at Ascot Racecourse on June 20, 2017 in Ascot, England
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Though she’s regularly seen at royal events, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson’s youngest daughter spends the bulk of her time indulging her interest in fine art. She has held several jobs in the art world, and is currently a director at Hauser & Wirth’s London gallery.

10. PRINCE EDWARD, EARL OF WESSEX

 Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex leaves after a visit to Prince Philip
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Like his older brother Andrew, Prince Edward—the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip—jumps the line ahead of his older sister, Princess Anne, because of the older rule that put males ahead of females.

11. JAMES, VISCOUNT SEVERN

 James, Viscount Severn, rides on the fun fair carousel on day 4 of the Royal Windsor Horse Show on May 11, 2013 in Windsor, England
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James, Viscount Severn—the younger of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex’s two children, and their only son—turned 10 years old on December 17, 2017, and celebrated it as the 10th royal in line of succession. (The birth of the youngest Prince of Cambridge pushed him back a spot.)

12. LADY LOUISE MOUNTBATTEN-WINDSOR

Lady Louise Windsor during the annual Trooping the Colour Ceremony at Buckingham Palace on June 15, 2013 in London, England.
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Because the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 wasn’t enacted until 2015, Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor—the older of Prince Edward’s two children—will always be just behind her brother in the line of succession.

13. PRINCESS ANNE, THE PRINCESS ROYAL

Princess Anne, Princess Royal, visits the Hambleton Equine Clinic on October 10, 2017 in Stokesley, England
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Princess Anne, the Queen and Prince Philip’s second-born child and only daughter, may never rule over the throne in her lifetime, but at least she gets to be called “The Princess Royal.”

14. PETER PHILLIPS

Peter Phillips poses for a photo on The Mall
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The eldest child and only son of Princess Anne and her first husband, Captain Mark Phillips, stands just behind his mother in line. Interesting fact: Had Phillips’s wife, Autumn Kelly, not converted from Roman Catholicism to the Church of England before their marriage in 2008, Phillips would have lost his place in line.

15. SAVANNAH PHILLIPS

Savannah Phillips attends a Christmas Day church service
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

On December 29, 2010, Peter and Autumn Phillips celebrated the birth of their first child, Savannah Anne Kathleen Phillips, who is also the Queen’s first great-grandchild. She’s currently 15th in line.

16. ISLA PHILLIPS

Princess Anne, Princess Royal, Isla Phillips and Peter Phillips attend a Christmas Day church service
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Less than two years after Savannah, Peter and Autumn Phillips had a second daughter, Isla, who stands just behind her sister in line. It wasn’t until 2017 that Savannah and Isla made their Buckingham Palace balcony debut (in honor of their great-grandmother’s 91st birthday).

17. ZARA TINDALL

 Zara Tindall arrives for a reception at the Guildhall
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Not one to hide in the background, Zara Tindall—Princess Anne’s second child and only daughter—has lived much of her life in the spotlight. A celebrated equestrian, she won the Eventing World Championship in Aachen in 2006 and was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year the same year (her mom earned the same title in 1971). She’s also Prince George’s godmother.

18. MIA TINDALL

Mike Tindall, Zara Tindall and their daughter Mia Tindall pose for a photograph during day three of The Big Feastival at Alex James' Farm on August 28, 2016 in Kingham, Oxfordshire.
Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images

Zara Tindall’s daughter Mia may just be 4 years old, but she’s already regularly making headlines for her outgoing personality. And though she’s only 18th in line to the throne, her connection to the tippity top of the royal family is much closer: Prince William is her godfather.

19. DAVID ARMSTRONG-JONES, 2ND EARL OF SNOWDON

David Armstrong-Jones, 2nd Earl of Snowdon
HANNAH MCKAY/AFP/Getty Images

David Armstrong-Jones, the eldest child of Princess Margaret, isn’t waiting around to see if the British crown ever lands on his head. The 56-year-old, who goes by David Linley in his professional life, has made a name for himself as a talented furniture-maker. His bespoke pieces, sold under the brand name Linley, can be purchased through his own boutiques as well as at Harrods.

20. CHARLES ARMSTRONG-JONES, VISCOUNT LINLEY

Margarita Armstrong-Jones and Charles Patrick Inigo Armstrong-Jones
Chris Jackson-WPA Pool/Getty Images

David Armstrong-Jones’s only son, Charles, may be 20th in line to the throne, but the 18-year-old is the heir apparent to the Earldom of Snowdon.

21. LADY MARGARITA ARMSTRONG-JONES

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (R) talks with Lady Margarita Armstrong-Jones (C) as her father David Armstrong-Jones (L), 2nd Earl of Snowdon, known as David Linley
HANNAH MCKAY/AFP/Getty Images

Lady Margarita Armstrong-Jones, the youngest child of David Armstrong-Jones and his only daughter, is also the only granddaughter of Princess Margaret. Now 15 years old (she'll turn 16 in June), Lady Margarita made headlines around the world in 2011 when she served as a flower girl at the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.

22. LADY SARAH CHATTO

Lady Sarah Chatto, the daughter of Princess Margaret arrives for her mother's memorial service
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Lady Sarah Chatto, Princess Margaret and Anthony Armstrong-Jones’s only daughter, is the youngest grandchild of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. In addition to serving as a bridesmaid to Princess Diana, she is Prince Harry’s godmother.

23. SAMUEL CHATTO

Lady Sarah Chatto (L) and her son Samuel Chatto (R) leave a Service of Thanksgiving for the life and work of Lord Snowdon at Westminster Abbey on April 7, 2017 in London, United Kingdom
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The first-born son of Lady Sarah Chatto and her husband, Daniel, has a long way to go to reach the throne: He’s currently 23rd in line.

24. ARTHUR CHATTO

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For better or worse, Sarah and Daniel Chatto’s youngest son Arthur has become a bit of a social media sensation. He's made headlines recently as he regularly posts selfies to Instagram—some of them on the eyebrow-raising side, at least as far as royals go.

25. PRINCE RICHARD, DUKE OF GLOUCESTER

Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester makes a speech during the unveiling ceremony of London's first public memorial to the Korean War on December 3, 2014 in London, England
Carl Court/Getty Images

At 73 years old, Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester is the youngest grandchild of King George V and Queen Mary. Formerly, he made a living as an architect, until the 1972 death of his brother, Prince William of Gloucester, put him next in line to inherit his father’s dukedom. On June 10, 1974, he officially succeeded his father as Duke of Gloucester, Earl of Ulster, and Baron Culloden.

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10 Fascinating Facts About Ella Fitzgerald
Library of Congress (LOC), Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
Library of Congress (LOC), Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Today marks what would have been the 101st birthday of Ella Fitzgerald, the pioneering jazz singer who helped revolutionize the genre. But the iconic songstress’s foray into the music industry was almost accidental, as she had planned to show off her dancing skills when she made her stage debut. Celebrate the birthday of the artist known as the First Lady of Song, Queen of Jazz, or just plain ol’ Lady Ella with these fascinating facts.

1. SHE WAS A JAZZ FAN FROM A YOUNG AGE.

Though she attempted to launch her career as a dancer (more on that in a moment), Ella Fitzgerald was a jazz enthusiast from a very young age. She was a fan of Louis Armstrong and Bing Crosby, and truly idolized Connee Boswell of the Boswell Sisters. “She was tops at the time,” Fitzgerald said in 1988. “I was attracted to her immediately. My mother brought home one of her records, and I fell in love with it. I tried so hard to sound just like her.”

2. SHE DABBLED IN CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES AS A TEENAGER.

A photo of Ella Fitzgerald
Carl Van Vechten - Library of Congress, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Fitzgerald’s childhood wasn’t an easy one. Her stepfather was reportedly abusive to her, and that abuse continued following the death of Fitzgerald’s mother in 1932. Eventually, to escape the violence, she moved to Harlem to live with her aunt. While she had been a great student when she was younger, it was following that move that her dedication to education faltered. Her grades dropped and she often skipped school. But she found other ways to fill her days, not all of them legal: According to The New York Times, she worked for a mafia numbers runner and served as a police lookout at a local brothel. Her illicit activities eventually landed her in an orphanage, followed by a state reformatory.

3. SHE MADE HER STAGE DEBUT AT THE APOLLO THEATER.

In the early 1930s, Fitzgerald was able to make a little pocket change from the tips she made from passersby while singing on the streets of Harlem. In 1934, she finally got the chance to step onto a real (and very famous) stage when she took part in an Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater on November 21, 1934. It was her stage debut.

The then-17-year-old managed to wow the crowd by channeling her inner Connee Boswell and belting out her renditions of “Judy” and “The Object of My Affection.” She won, and took home a $25 prize. Here’s the interesting part: She entered the competition as a dancer. But when she saw that she had some stiff competition in that department, she opted to sing instead. It was the first big step toward a career in music.

4. A NURSERY RHYME HELPED HER GET THE PUBLIC’S ATTENTION.

Not long after her successful debut at the Apollo, Fitzgerald met bandleader Chick Webb. Though he was initially reluctant to hire her because of what The New York Times described as her “gawky and unkempt” appearance, her powerful voice won him over. "I thought my singing was pretty much hollering," she later said, "but Webb didn't."

Her first hit was a unique adaptation of “A-Tisket, A-Tasket,” which she helped to write based on what she described as "that old drop-the-handkerchief game I played from 6 to 7 years old on up."

5. SHE WAS PAINFULLY SHY.

Though it certainly takes a lot of courage to get up and perform in front of the world, those who knew and worked with Fitzgerald said that she was extremely shy. In Ella Fitzgerald: A Biography of the First Lady of Jazz, trumpeter Mario Bauzá—who played with Fitzgerald in Chick Webb’s orchestra—explained that “she didn't hang out much. When she got into the band, she was dedicated to her music … She was a lonely girl around New York, just kept herself to herself, for the gig."

6. SHE MADE HER FILM DEBUT IN AN ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MOVIE.

As her IMDb profile attests, Fitzgerald contributed to a number of films and television series over the years, and not just to the soundtracks. She also worked as an actress on a handful of occasions (often an actress who sings), beginning with 1942’s Ride ‘Em Cowboy, a comedy-western starring Bud Abbott and Lou Costello.

7. SHE GOT SOME HELP FROM MARILYN MONROE.

“I owe Marilyn Monroe a real debt,” Fitzgerald said in a 1972 interview in Ms. Magazine. “It was because of her that I played the Mocambo, a very popular nightclub in the ’50s. She personally called the owner of the Mocambo and told him she wanted me booked immediately, and if he would do it, she would take a front table every night. She told him—and it was true, due to Marilyn’s superstar status—that the press would go wild. The owner said yes, and Marilyn was there, front table, every night. The press went overboard … After that, I never had to play a small jazz club again. She was an unusual woman—a little ahead of her times. And she didn’t know it.”

Though it has often been reported that the club’s owner did not want to book Fitzgerald because she was black, it was later explained that his reluctance wasn’t due to Fitzgerald’s race; he apparently didn’t believe that she was “glamorous” enough for the patrons to whom he catered.

8. SHE WAS THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN TO WIN A GRAMMY.

Ella Fitzgerald
William P. Gottlieb - LOC, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Among her many other accomplishments, in 1958 Fitzgerald became the first African American woman to win a Grammy Award. Actually, she won two awards that night: one for Best Jazz Performance, Soloist for Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Duke Ellington Songbook, and another for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Irving Berlin Songbook.

9. HER FINAL PERFORMANCE WAS AT CARNEGIE HALL.

On June 27, 1991, Fitzgerald—who had, at that point, recorded more than 200 albums—performed at Carnegie Hall. It was the 26th time she had performed at the venue, and it ended up being her final performance.

10. SHE LOST BOTH OF HER LEGS TO DIABETES.

In her later years, Fitzgerald suffered from a number of health problems. She was hospitalized a handful of times during the 1980s for everything from respiratory problems to exhaustion. She also suffered from diabetes, which took much of her eyesight and led to her having to have both of her legs amputated below the knee in 1993. She never fully recovered from the surgery and never performed again. She passed away at her home in Beverly Hills on June 15, 1996.

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