( 1904-1943 )
Thomas Wright "Fats" Waller, born in New York City, started playing piano at age six and composed his first rag at 15. In 1929, he wrote the score for the Broadway hit, Hot Chocolates, introducing his most famous song, Ain't Misbehavin'. He got his big break at a party given by George Gershwin in 1934, after which he was signed to a recording contract. Throughout the 1930s and early 1940s, Fats was a star on radio and in movies, appearing in nightclubs and touring throughout Europe.