I owe Marilyn Monroe a real debt. 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 [ed. note: who had refused to book Fitzgerald because she was black], 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.