Champion Jack Dupree – born William Thomas Dupree – was a black American blues pianist.
He was born in New Orleans [July 1909].
He was orphaned when he was 12 months' old and his parents were murdered by the Ku Klux Klan. He was raised in the Home for Colored Waifs & Strays, where he was taught to play the piano.
He became an itinerant musician, married and moved to Chicago, where he met Al Capone and became a boxer, starting with $10 fairground challenges and then becoming a professional. He fought as a southpaw in 200 fights. His opponents included Joe Louis, Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney.
In 1930, he married (1) Ruth.
In 1940, he gave up boxing and began to record the blues with a voice
He and Ruth divorced in 1944.
In 1948, he married (2) Lucille Dalton. They divorced after he met Shirley Ann Harrison of Halifax whom he met when she was working as a waitress in a London club and he was performing in London.
In 1969, he married (3) Shirley Ann Harrison.
He had a total of 11 children:
They lived at Ovenden [1960s-1980s].
Visitors to the house included
He and Shirley Ann divorced in 1976.
He moved to Copenhagen, then Zurich and finally settled in Hanover.
A Blue Plaque has been erected in his memory
Revised 15:28 /22nd January 2021 / 4156
Page Ref: MMD917
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