Today in history… April 21, 2003, Eunice Kathleen Waymon, more popularly-known by her stage name Nina Simone, died in her sleep at her home in Carry-le-Rouet, Bouches-du-Rhône, France.
She was 70 years old.
This year marks the 10 year anniversary of Simone’s death, and I’m sure I need not remind you that a feature-length scripted film based on the life of Simone, is scheduled to debut some time this year, which may or may not be a coincidence.
But before that happens, you should watch the French-produced 1992 feature documentary Nina Simone: La Legende (The Legend), which is based on her autobiography, I Put A Spell On You.
It covers much of her life, and includes footage from different periods of that life, some of it quite intimate and revealing, and likely never-see before the film was made. It also includes interviews with family and friends, as well as with Simone herself. Of course, you’ll also find plenty of performance footage within it, featuring Nina doing what many of us know and love her most for.
You’ll probably love the dreamy Romeo And Juliet, Fantasy Overture epilogue with Nina Simone on piano, at the tail-end.
It’s the only feature-length documentary on the life of Simone that I’m aware of. There have been a few concert/performance films. But I believe this is the only one that goes beyond the professional and into the personal, telling her life-story.
Maybe it’s time for another one, made for the big screen.
The hour-long Nina Simone: La Legende, originally made for television and directed by Frank Lords, is embedded below, courtesy of the Official Nina Simone Estate at ninasimone.com: