Entertainer Pearl Mae Bailey was born on this day in 1918 in Southampton County, Virginia to Reverend Joseph James and Ella Mae Bailey. Her brother, tap dancer Bill Bailey (who originated the Moonwalk), encouraged her to enter the amateur contest at Philadelphia's Pearl Theatre when she was 15. She won and thereafter won a similar contest at Harlem's Apollo Theater. She appeared in nightclubs with acts like Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington, on the vaudeville circuit, and made her Broadway debut in 1946 in "St . Louis Woman" . She won the Donaldson Award for best Broadway newcomer and eventually won the Tony Award as Dolly Levi in the all-black 1968 production of "Hello , Dolly!" She hosted her own TV variety series in 1971, was named "Ambassador of Love" in 1970 by Nixon, was appointed special ambassador to the UN in 1975 by Ford, won the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award in 1976, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Reagan in 1988. She also won an Emmy in 1986 for her role in the ABC Afterschool Special "Cindy Eller: A Modern Fairy Tale" . She passed away in 1990 at age 72. Pearl also had a significant recording career, her biggest chart success being a Top 10 1952 rendition of "Takes Two to Tango" , and often collaborated with her jazz drummer husband Louie Bellson. My generation most likely discovered her as the voice of Big Mama in Disney's "The Fox and the Hound" (1981) or singing "Bill Bailey (Won't You Come Home" in a series of Duncan Hines TV ads. Today’s feature is “The Real Pearl Bailey” (1968), which was cut while she was enjoying her phenomenally successful Broadway run as Dolly Levi. She only had one day off, so the entire LP was recorded in 14 hours on a Sunday. Producer Enoch Light captures Pearl at her best, telling stories with charm, warmth and wit. The liner notes feature her musings on the 12 personally selected tracks. Album highlights include a cover of vaudevillian Bert Williams’ classic “Nobody”, a take on Sintra’s hit “That’s Life”, a relaxed version of Johnny Mercer’s “Baby, Don’t You Quit Now”, a soft-show hot-cha-cha “Ukulele Talk”, and sentimental “Poor Butterfly”, which was the 1st song she ever sang on stage.