Billie Holiday

A film chronicling the legacy of late jazz legend Billie Holiday is heading to the big screen in America.

Simply titled Billie, the film will revisit the singer’s life through the eyes of superfan and journalist Linda Lipnack Kuehl, who recorded over 200 hours of interviews for a biography she began writing about her music icon.

Kuehl sat down for in-depth interviews with Billie’s contemporaries, including Tony Bennett, Count Basie, and Charles Mingus, as well as close friends, relatives, exes, and others in her life. She even went so far as to sit down with the FBI agents who arrested the star for drug possession, and her fellow inmates during her brief jail stint.

Sadly, Kuehl died in 1979, before completing her book, and now filmmaker James Erskine will use the never-before-heard chats to document Holiday’s life story onscreen.

It won’t be the first time the life of Holiday, who died in 1959, is played out on camera – Diana Ross, Billy Dee Williams, and Richard Pryor starred in 1972’s classic biopic Lady Sings the Blues, named after the title song on her 1956 album.

Meanwhile, Precious filmmaker Lee Daniels was said to be in talks to direct a new biopic about the jazz icon last year.

Reports at the time suggested singer Andra Day and Atlanta actor Lakeith Stanfield were tapped for lead roles.

Holiday, who was also a heavy drinker, died in 1959 after suffering from heart failure and fluid in her lungs, known as a pulmonary edema, caused by the degenerative alcoholic disease cirrhosis of the liver. She was just 44.

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