Jazz singer and actor Annie Ross dies aged 89

Amy Johnson
·2-min read
Portrait of English Jazz singer Annie Ross as she poses in her Manhattan apartment, New York, New York, September 27, 2005. The picture was taken as part of a portrait session for Downbeat Magazine. (Photo by Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images)
Portrait of English Jazz singer Annie Ross as she poses in her Manhattan apartment, New York, New York, September 27, 2005. The picture was taken as part of a portrait session for Downbeat Magazine. (Photo by Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images)

Jazz singer and actor Annie Ross has died at the age of 89, four days before her 90th birthday.

She had emphysema and heart disease, her former manager told the Washington Post.

During her long career, Ross enjoyed success as an acclaimed jazz singer and in numerous acting roles.

Born Annabelle Short in London in 1930, she emigrated to New York with her parents, Scottish vaudevillians John Short and Mary Dalziel Short at the age of four.

Read more: Scottish actor Maurice Roeves dies aged 83

She found fame as a child star in Hollywood where she moved to live with her aunt Ella Logan, a singer and actor. Ross' early roles included a part in 1937 short film Our Gang Follies and playing younger sister to Judy Garland's character in 1943 film Presenting Lily Mars.

Singer Annie Ross performs on stage in March 1972. (Photo by David Redfern/Redferns)
Singer Annie Ross performs on stage in March 1972. (Photo by David Redfern/Redferns)

Changing her name to Annie Ross in her teens she then focused her attentions on her music career, releasing vocalese hit Twisted in 1952 and recording seven albums as part of Lambert, Hendricks & Ross between 1957 and 1962.

The trio consisted of Jon Hendricks and Dave Lambert in addition to Ross, who left the group in 1962 and went on to open her own nightclub in London, Annie's Room.

Returning to film in adulthood, Ross had memorable roles in Superman III, where she portrayed Vera Webster and as Tess Trainer in Robert Altman's Short Cuts.

She also provided the speaking voice for Britt Ekland's character in 1973's The Wicker Man.

Annie Ross attends the Film Society of Lincoln Center's 21st Annual Gala Salute to Robert Altman on April 18, 1994 at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)
Annie Ross attends the Film Society of Lincoln Center's 21st Annual Gala Salute to Robert Altman on April 18, 1994 at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Ross grappled with heroin addiction during her lifetime which impacted her career in the 60s. The addiction was shared with the comedian Lenny Bruce, with whom she had a love affair.

A documentary on Ross, No One But Me, premiered at the Glasgow Film Festival in 2012.

Her brother Jimmy Logan was also in show business as an actor, appearing in multiple Carry On films and The Debt Collector alongside Billy Connolly. He died in 2001 at the age of 73.