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Mama Cass Elliot

A folk singer with a gift for turning formerly up-tempo tunes like “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” into unforgettable torch songs, Cass Elliot helped define the sound of her generation as a member of the Mamas and the Papas. Elliot took to the road performing in the cross-country tour of The Music Man and pursued acting in New York before launching her music career in 1963 first as a member of the Big Three and then with the Mugwumps. In 1965 she joined the Mamas and the Papas, known for their four-part harmonies on songs like “California Dreamin’,” “Monday, Monday,” and “Creeque Alley.” After three years, Elliot launched her solo career, recording eight albums, although none matched the fame she had enjoyed as a member of the Mamas and the Papas. She continued to record albums with the band to fulfill their contract. She made a number of television appearances on Hollywood Squares and the Tonight Show, among others, and was in the middle of a successful tour when she died in 1974. In 1998 the Mamas and the Papas were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

"Mama" Cass Elliot
Full image

With a clear, penetrating voice that was the linchpin of the musical group, "The Mamas and the Papas," and a girth that was almost legendary, actress and singer "Mama" Cass Elliot (1941–1974) will long be identified as an earth mother of the 1960s.

Institution: New York Public Library.

Date of Birth
September 19, 1941
Place of Birth
Baltimore, Maryland
Date of Death
July 29, 1974

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Mama Cass Elliot." (Viewed on February 23, 2019) <>.


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