By EW Staff
October 22, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT
Lady Sings the Blues: Kobal Collection

Lady Sings the Blues

Movies about musicians:”Lady Sings the Blues”

LEAD SINGER Diana Ross (right) ditches her glam Motown roots and gets gritty to play troubled jazz pioneer Billie Holiday.

PITCH-PERFECT? In her Oscar-nominated film debut, Ross — initially a controversial choice for the role — does all of her own singing, submerging her brassy style to approximate Holiday’s sublime vocal elegance.

HUMBLE ORIGINS Raped as a child, Holiday turns to prostitution before discovering her musical talents. She has a rocky but loving relationship with husband Louis McKay (Billy Dee Williams, left), who can’t keep her from falling into, yes, heroin addiction.

HIGH NOTE Holiday stuns an audience at New York’s Café Society as she debuts her landmark protest song ”Strange Fruit.”

TRAGIC ENDING As the movie fades out, we learn that Holiday failed to beat her addiction, lost her cabaret license, and died at age 44. Cheery.

Lady Sings the Blues

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