Ohio State University. Juilliard School.
Her sister Amanda Elzy (died 2004) was a prominent educationist after whom Amanda Elzy High School in Greenwood, Mississippi is named. Elzy entertained at the White House, December 15, 1937, for First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt"s luncheon for the wives of United States. Supreme Court Justices. She appeared on Broadway in the musical John Henry, in films, on radio and on the concert stage.
She appeared with Paul Robeson in the film of The Emperor Jones, and also with Bing Crosby and Mary Martin in Birth of the Blues, though neither of these were starring roles.
She sang at Harlem’s Apollo Theater and in the Hollywood Bowl. Elzy created the role of Serena in George Gershwin"s folk opera Porgy and Bess and performed in it more than eight hundred times.
However, Elzy can be heard singing it on a Civil Defense release of the 1937 Gershwin Memorial Concert, which took place three months after Gershwin"s death, at the Hollywood Bowl. Elzy rose above poverty and prejudice to become one of the most acclaimed singers of her generation, but her career lasted barely a decade.
In 2006, Elzy"s biographer, David East. Weaver, produced a first-ever Civil Defense compilation of Elzy, featuring the singer in twenty rare recorded and broadcast performances.
The Civil Defense, entitled Ruby Elzy in Song, was released on the Cambria label.