She Wins Emmys!

She Wins Emmys!
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When my friend pianist Lisa Downing’s name was announced as the winner of a Heartland Chapter Emmy this past Saturday night, it was a total thrill! Her beautiful piece of music told the story of The Torii Gates – washed into the Pacific Ocean during the 2011 tsunami that hit Japan, washed onto the beach in Oregon, and then returned to Japan. It got me thinking about other women who have won Emmys. Match the woman with her accomplishment:

_____ 1. The first person to win an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony.

_____ 2. Received her Emmy in her comeback years with a multi-octave voice regarded as one of the most wondrous voices of the twentieth century.

_____ 3. An operatic soprano, her Emmy was for a performance with the New York Philharmonic.

_____ 4. A singer, songwriter, actress and filmmaker, her first Emmy was in 1965.

_____ 5. A dance and choreographer, her 1999 Emmy was for choreography.

A. Sarah Vaughan

B. Leontyne Price

C. Rita Moreno

D. Judith Jamison

E. Barbra Streisand

Sarah Vaughan’s 1981 Emmy was for Outstanding Individual Achievement – Special Class for Rhapsody and Song: A Tribute to George Gershwin. Nicknamed “The Divine One”, Vaughan had a multi-octave range and was at the height of her popularity in the 1950s and 1960s. She was able to come back after rock and roll entered the music scene and record on the Pablo label. Vaughan is regarded as one of the most influential singers of jazz and pop history and it has been said of her that she had one of the most wondrous voices of the twentieth century. In addition to her Emmy, Vaughan received four Grammy awards.

Operatic soprano Leontyne Price’s 1983 Emmy for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program was for a performance with the New York Philharmonic. One of the first African Americans to become a leading performer with the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, Price had a voice considered well suited for Puccini, Verdi and Mozart. She retired from the opera stage in 1985, but continued to give recitals and concerts until 1997. The recipient of 19 Grammys, some of her other awards include the Springarn Medal, the Kennedy Center Honors, and the National Medal of Arts.

The only person of Hispanic ancestry and the very first person to have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony, Rita Moreno grew up in Puerto Rico during the Great Depression. She was on Broadway by age 20 and is probably best known for her role as Anita in the film West Side Story, for which she won her Oscar. An actor, dancer, and singer, Moreno won her first Emmy in 1997 for Outstanding Continuing or Single Performance by a Supporting Actress in Variety or Music for an appearance on The Muppet Show. Still active today, Moreno’s many other honors include the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Dancer and choreographer Judith Jamison received an Emmy in 1999 for Outstanding Choreography on Great Performances for an episode titled “Dance in America: A Hymn for Alvin Ailey.” Exposed to all forms of art from a very young age, Jamison began taking dance lessons when she was six. After dancing for Agnes de Mille at the American Ballet Theatre in 1964, she joined the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater. After the Dance Theater had resolved its financial issues, she rejoined and today is the Artistic Director Emerita. Among her many other honors are the Kennedy Center Honors and a National Medal of Arts.

Singer, songwriter, actress, and filmmaker Barbra Streisand’s first Emmy was in 1965 for Outstanding Individual Achievements in Entertainment – Actors and Performers for My Name is Barbra. Like Rita Moreno, she is one of a handful of entertainers to have won an Emmy, Grammy, Tony and Oscar. Streisand is one of the best-selling music artists of all time. After acting in several films for which she received awards, she became the first woman to write, produce, direct and star in a major studio film. Streisand’s many honors include the Kennedy Center Honors and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Learn about more she-roes and celebrate amazing women. These Emmy winners are among the more than 850 women profiled in the book Her Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America. I am proud to tell women’s stories and write women back into history. I stand on their shoulders.

(Answers: 1-C, 2-A, 3-B, 4-E, 5-D)

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