Pearl Mae Bailey (March 29, 1918 - August 17, 1990) was an
American singer and actress. After appearing in vaudeville, she
made her Broadway debut in St. Louis Woman in 1946. She won a Tony
Award for the title role in the all-black production of Hello,
Dolly! in 1968. Her rendition of "Takes Two to Tango" hit the top
ten in 1952.
In 1987, Bailey won a Daytime Emmy award for her performance as
a fairy godmother in the ABC Afterschool Special, Cindy Eller: A
Modern Fairy Tale.
Later in her career, Bailey was a fixture as a spokesperson in a
series of Duncan Hines commercials. Bailey, a Republican, was
appointed by President Richard Nixon as America's "Ambassador of
Love" in 1970. She attended several meetings of the United Nations,
occasionally seeming disoriented. She later took part in a campaign
ad for President Gerald Ford in the 1976 election.
She was awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom on October 17,
1988. In London, England, on November 19, 1952, she married jazz
drummer Louie Bellson. The marriage endured until her death from
heart failure in August 1990.