Jazz Singer Abbey Lincoln Dead at 80

A militant advocate of civil rights in the 1960s, she had a long career that spanned music, film and TV shows.

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Abbey Lincoln, a singer with a distinctive style influenced by Billie Holiday, has died at age 80. Lincoln sang in a plaintive tone that reflected her idol but was all her own. Best known among jazz aficionados, Lincoln often sang her own compositions, tailored to highlight her voice and style. She was highly respected by jazz musicians and performed with the most famous list of collaborators, including Eric Dolphy, Coleman Hawkins and Sonny Rollins.

Lincoln starred in the 1964 film Nothing but a Man with Ivan Dixon, still considered one of the best and most realistic on-screen portayals of a relationship between two black people. She also appeared in For the Love of Ivy, a 1968 film with Sidney Poitier and Beau Bridges. She also had roles in popular TV shows like All in the Family.

Lincoln was married to the great jazz drummer Max Roach during the 1960s, and they collaborated on We Insist! Max Roach's Freedom Now Suite, an album that was considered highly political at the time of its release. Lincoln, whose real name was Anna Marie Wooldridge, died in her New York apartment.