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OBITUARIES / PASSINGS / Kitty White

Vocalist sang with Elvis

September 03, 2009|Times Staff and Wire Reports

Kitty White, 86, a versatile vocalist who sang "Crawfish" with Elvis Presley in the 1958 film "King Creole," died of complications from a stroke Aug. 11 at Palm Springs Health Care Center, her family said.

Known for what has been described as "exceptional control of breath, pitch, vibrato and dynamics," White sang jazz, gospel, pop and spiritual music. She recorded with Capitol, Mercury, Pacific Jazz, New Horizons, Clover and other labels, and she recorded with jazz greats including Ben Webster, Buddy Collette and Red Callender.

Among her other film credits as a singer are "The Night of the Hunter" and "Kiss Me Deadly."

She was born Kitty Jean Bilbrew on July 7, 1923, in Los Angeles and launched her career at age 3 when she and her twin sister, Maudie, began singing in vaudeville. She later performed in clubs in Los Angeles. She moved to Palm Springs in 1967 and sang at the Spa Hotel for 16 years.

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