Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Louis Armstrong, known as the Father of Jazz, also fathered a daughter that no one knew he had. The discovery came as a bit of shock. While Armstrong was a known womanizer, many believed that he passed away without children. The discovery would come 42 years later when his daughter came forward with letters that Armstrong wrote to her mother. In the letters, Armstrong inadvertently revealed how we kept a second family.
His daughter, 57-year-old Sharon Preston-Folta, claimed that she came forward with the letters because she wanted to story to be known. While many other sources confirmed that Armstrong died without any children, these letters reveal that he supported Ms. Preston-Folta and her mother for about 16 years. In several of the letters, he promised his mistress, Ms. Preston, that he would continue to support her and their daughter. He even bought them a house and would visit them regularly. Her mother stated that she not want to report her daughter because she felt that Armstrong recognition of her as her daughter was enough. As a result, her mother never came forward when his estate was being probated. Armstrong's widow rejected claims that Armstrong ever fathered children, claiming that the late-jazz legend was not able to father children. Ms. Preston-Folta stated that her parents relationship ended in 1967 because Armstrong refused to marry her mother.
See Jacqui Goddard, Louis Armstrong's Secret Daughter Revealed, 42 Years After His Death, The Telegraph, Dec. 15, 2012.
Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) and Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.