Here are 17 things they didn't know (or chose not to acknowledge) about Kate Smith:
- No other entertainer raised more to support the US war effort during World War II. Kate Smith raised more than a half-BILLION dollars. And that was in 1940s dollars.
- During a time when African-American entertainers were rarely seen on TV, Kate Smith welcomed black entertainers such as the Billy Williams Quintet on her nationally-televised TV program.
- After the untimely death of Nat King Cole, Kate Smith joined entertainers Dionne Warwick and Sammy Davis, Jr. at a benefit concert to raise money for the Nat King Cole Cancer Foundation.
- Kate Smith performed more than 200 times at the famed Apollo Theater in Harlem, the center of African-American life in America.
- Kate Smith was recognized by the nation as a patriot and presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Reagan.
- No other performer introduced more songs than Kate Smith. She recorded more than 3,000 songs, introduced more than 1,000 and saw 600 of them make the hit parade.
- At the height of Kate Smith's career she repeatedly was named one of the three or four most popular women in America. In 1942, a nationwide poll listed the three most popular women in America as Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Hayes and Kate Smith.
- Kate Smith made more than 15,000 radio broadcasts and, over the years, received more than 25 million fan letters.
- President Roosevelt once introduced her to King George VI of England, saying: ''This is Kate Smith. Miss Smith is America.''
- For a time, Kate Smith had exclusive rights to perform ''God Bless America'' in public -- a song written by Irving Berlin which she introduced on Veteran's Day, 1938. She relinquished that right when it became apparent the song had achieved a significance beyond that of just another new pop tune.
- Kate Smith and Irving Berlin generously donated all royalties from God Bless America to the Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts of America. To this day, those two groups benefit from the song.
- At one point, popular sentiment strongly favored replacing The Star Spangled Banner with God Bless America as the national anthem. But Kate Smith refused to endorse the effort, deferring to tradition.
- Communists and socialists hated Kate Smith. In 1949, The Daily Worker, the official newspaper of the American Communist Party lambasted Smith after she called out repressive communist-controlled regimes in eastern Europe. Smith was undeterred and wore the criticism as a badge of honor.
- Kate Smith suffered the slings and arrows of fat-shaming most of her life but she never let it get to her. Still, there were days she cried quietly in the privacy of her dressing room.
- In 1962 Kate Smith fell into a long period of depression following the death of her mother, Charlotte and her long-time manager, Ted Collins. She did not emerge from this period until 1965.
- Kate Smith wrote two autobiographical books, 'Living in a Great Big Way'' in 1938, and ''Upon My Lips a Song'' in 1960. Both were huge bestsellers.
- In 1965, after attending Roman Catholic services for 25 years, Miss Smith was baptized into that religion at her local church in Lake Placid, NY.
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