Whatever happened to Jackie "Moms" Mabley?
—Douglas S., Mississippi
Comedian Jackie "Moms" Mabley died on May 23, 1975, somewhere around the age of 81 (there is some dispute as to her birthdate). She was born Loretta Mary Aiken and endured a great deal of tragedy as a young girl, losing both her parents to accidents. She later changed her name because her brother was embarrassed to have a sister in showbiz, but after playing the "chitlin circuit," Mabley ended up one of the most successful black comedians, earning as much as $10,000 a week during her heyday. She recorded nine albums, and her first on Chess Records, The Funniest Woman in the World, went gold. She starred in a 1974 film called Amazing Grace. She died shortly after the movie's release.