On Saturday, June 15th, 1996, an era in jazz singing came to an end, with the death of Ella Fitzgerald at her home in California. She was the last of four great female jazz singers (including Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, and Carmen McRae) who defined one of the most prolific eras in jazz vocal style. Ella had extraordinary vocal skills from the time she was a teenager, and joined the Chick Webb Orchestra in 1935 when she was 16 years old. With an output of more than 200 albums, she was at her sophisticated best with the songs of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, of George Gershwin, and of Cole Porter. Her 13 Grammy awards are more than any other jazz performer, and she won the Best Female Vocalist award three years in a row. Completely at home with up-tempo songs, her scat singing placed her jazz vocals with the finest jazz instrumentalists, and it was this magnificent voice that she brought to her film appearances. Her last few years, during which she had a bout with congestive heart failure and suffered bilateral amputation of her legs from complications of diabetes, were spent in seclusion.