And the sky is grey: Mama Cass Elliot’s birthday

Born Elliot Naomi Cohen, "Mamas and the Papas" singer Cass Elliot would have turned 70 years old today.

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On July 29, 1974, Elliot suffered a fatal heart attack after a performance at the London Palladium. Unfortunately, JTA was one of many news agencies who erroneously reported the cause of her death as choking on a ham sandwich.

Cause of death and typos notwithstanding, JTA shared an interesting fact about the beloved singer: she had a brief stint as an obituary writer for her local Jewish paper:

Born in Baltimore, Md., Miss Eliot worked as a journalist after high school, before leaving for New York and the fame as a singer which she eventually found there. For a period of about six months in the late 1950s, Miss Elliot wrote obituaries and edited copy for the Baltimore Jewish Times, before joing the staff of the Baltimore Morning Sun.

"She was a very sweet girl–the same way she used to come off on TV," said Jerry Hess, sales manger of the Jewish Times and one of the staff members who remembers when Miss Elliot, still Ellen Cohen then, worked there. "When she worked here she used to sing all the time. She was doing some singing at clubs around the area and when she came to work she was never quiet. We used to have to tell her to stop singing."

For the latest JTA obituaries, head on over to Alan D. Abbey’s blog, The Eulogizer. Or click this image below to watch a "California Dreaming" montage.

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