Born: 19 September 1941
Died: 29 July 1974 (heart attack)
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland
Best known as: The big member the pop group The Mamas & The Papas
Name at birth: Ellen Naomi Cohen
"Mama Cass" Elliot was a member of the hippie pop group The Mamas & the Papas, along with John Phillips, Michelle Phillips and Denny Doherty. Cass Elliot began singing as a youngster; she adopted the nickname "Cass" in high school and then swapped her last name of Cohen for "Elliot" sometime later. She first sang with the folk group The Big Three in the early 1960s, and then joined Phillips, Phillips and Doherty to form The Mamas & the Papas in 1965. Cass Elliot was a big woman, weighing well over 200 pounds, and her size and her sweet, powerful voice made her stand out in the crowd of folk and pop musicians of the era. The Mamas & the Papas had their first hit in 1966 with "California Dreamin'" and recorded the popular tunes "Monday Monday" and "Dream a Little Dream of Me" before breaking up in 1968. Cass Elliot embarked on a rocky solo career and then became a pop culture legend for her untimely death in 1974. Initial reports from London said that she had choked to death on a sandwich, and this became an enduring rumor. In fact, an autopsy concluded that she died of a heart attack. The Mamas & the Papas were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
Cass Elliot appeared in the Saturday morning children’s show H. R. Pufnstuff with Jack Wild.
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