Lil Hardin Armstrong

Miss Lil
Birth Name:
Lillian Hardin
Birth Date:
February 3, 1898
Birth Place:
Memphis, Tennessee
Death Date:
August 27, 1971
Place of Death:
On stage at the Civic Center Plaza, Chicago, Illinois
Cause of Death:
Heart attack
Cemetery Name:
Lincoln Cemetery
Claim to Fame:
Lil Hardin Armstrong was an American jazz pianist, composer, arranger, singer, and bandleader. She was the second wife of Louis Armstrong, with whom she collaborated on many recordings in the 1920s with the Louis Armstrong Hot Five and Hot Seven ensembles. On February 4, 1924, Armstrong married Lil Hardin Armstrong, King Oliver's pianist. Armstrong's second wife helped him develop his career, urging Armstrong to seek more prominent billing and develop his style apart from the influence of Oliver. At her suggestion, Armstrong began to play classical music in church concerts to broaden his skills; and Armstrong began to dress more in more stylish attire to offset his girth. Her influence eventually undermined Armstrong's relationship with his mentor, especially concerning his salary and additional money that Joe "King" Oliver held back from Armstrong and other band members. Shortly after Armstrong, with Lil Hardin, formed the famous Louis Armstrong Hot Five and later the Hot Seven jazz bands that launched Armstrong's career to new heights. After her divorce from Armstrong when he had a liaison with Alpha Smith, sometimes billing herself as "Mrs. Louis Armstrong", Hardin led an "All Girl Orchestra", a mixed-sex big band which broadcast nationally over the NBC radio network. In the same decade she recorded for Decca as a swing vocalist and performed as piano accompanist for other singers. Hardin returned to Chicago and the house on East 41st Street. She made a trip to Europe and had a brief love affair in France, but mostly she worked around Chicago, often with fellow Chicagoans. Collaborators included Red Saunders, Joe Williams, Oscar Brown Jr., and Little Brother Montgomery. After living a full and complete life, Miss Lil was at the piano at a Louis Armstrong memorial concert shortly after his death when she slumped over and died while playing The St. Louis Blues at the age of 73

Fun Facts

Lil Hardin is never mentioned by the Louis Armstrong Foundation or Museum despite her undeniable influence on the history of Louis Armstrong’s rise as a cultural icon.

Cemetery Information:

Final Resting Place:

Lincoln Cemetery

12300 Kedzie Avenue

Blue Island, Illinois, 60406


North America


Map of Lincoln Cemetery in Blue Island, Illinois
Map of Lincoln Cemetery in Blue Island, Illinois

Grave Location:

Garden of Peace, Wall G, Tier 5, Crypt 63

Grave Location Description

As you enter the small cemetery off South Kedzie Road, drive straight ahead and park at the split in the road. Walk into the middle of the outdoor mausoleum complex and look for the Garden of Peace section. Pianist and songwriter Hot Miss Lil can be found on the top row of the left wing of the mausoleum.

Grave Location GPS

41.668941197992275, -87.70126460644194



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