Ellis Marsalis Jr. Biography, Death, Age, Height, Wife, Net Worth

Ellis Marsalis Jr., an American jazz pianist, and educator died at the age of 85 from pneumonia brought by COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Ellis Louis Marsalis Jr. was born on November 14, 1934, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

2019 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival – Day 4
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – APRIL 28: Ellis Marsalis performs during a family tribute at the 2019 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival 50th Anniversary at Fair Grounds Race Course on April 28, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/WireImage)

Marsalis played the saxophone while in high school but switched to the piano while studying classical music at Dillard University, where he graduated in 1955. He later attended Loyola University’s graduate school in New Orleans.

Marsalis married Delores Ferdinand, and together, they had six sons. In a house full of music, Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo, and Jason became remarkable jazz musicians. As the patriarch of this jazz dynasty, Ellis became a household name in American jazz circles.


It’s a bit ironic that Ellis Marsalis had to wait for her sons Wynton and Branford to become famous before being able to record regularly, but Ellis finally received his recognition a long time ago.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Ellis Marsalis worked with Ed Blackwell, Cannonball Adderley, Nat Adderley, and Al Hirt. In the 1970s, Ellis Marsalis Jr. taught at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. Marsalis’s students included Terence Blanchard, Harry Connick Jr., Donald Harrison, Kent Jordan, Marlon Jordan, and Nicholas Payton.

Even though he had recorded nearly twenty of his albums and appeared on many CDs with musicians like David “Fathead” Newman, Eddie Harris, Marcus Roberts, and Courtney Pine, he avoided the limelight to focus on teaching. Marsalis’ educational approach, combined with an interest in philosophy, encouraged his students to get breakthroughs in music through experimentation and very careful listening.

As a leading educator at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, the University of New Orleans, and the Xavier University of Louisiana, Ellis influenced the careers of countless musicians and his four musician sons: Wynton, Branford, Delfeayo, and Jason.

From 1986 to 1989, he taught at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, where he was the coordinator for jazz studies for two years. In 1989 Marsalis received an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, Dillard University, and in the same year, he moved to the faculty of the University of New Orleans. Marsalis was director of jazz studies until his retirement in 2001. In 2010 he received honorary degrees from Tulane University (2007), Juilliard School, Ball State, and Virginia Commonwealth University. Marsalis was a panelist, evaluator, and fellow board member of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Southern Arts Federation. On December 7, 2008, Marsalis was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.

Ellis Marsalis Jr. Death Cause

Ellis Marsalis Jr., a jazz pianist, teacher, and patriarch of the New Orleans music clan, died on April 1, 2020, after fighting pneumonia caused by the new coronavirus.

Ellis Marsalis III confirmed the news of the death, saying “Pneumonia was the actual thing that caused his demise. But it was pneumonia brought on by COVID-19,”

LaToya Cantrell, Mayor of New Orleans, said in a tweet: “Ellis Marsalis was a legend. He was the prototype of what we mean when we talk about New Orleans jazz. The love and the prayers of all of our people go out to his family and to all of those whose lives he touched.”

Ellis Marsalis Jr. Biography

Real NameEllis Louis Marsalis Jr.
Birth DateNovember 14, 1934
Age85 Years
DeathApril 1, 2020
Birth PlaceNew Orleans, Louisiana, United States
ProfessionAmerican pianist (Musician), educator
GenresJazz, Classical
Sun signScorpio

Ellis Marsalis Jr. Height, Weight and Body Measurement

Height5’ 8” (176.7 cm) Approx
Weight82 kg (180 lbs/Pound) Approx
Chest Size44 Inches
Waist Size36 Inches
Biceps Size16 Inches
Shoe Size9 (US)
Hair ColorWhite
Eye ColorBlack
Body TypeAverage
Sexual OrientationStraight


SchoolNot Known
CollegeDillard University


FatherEllis Louis Marsalis, Sr.
MotherFlorence Robertson
SisterYvette Marsalis

Ellis Marsalis Jr. Affairs (Relationship Status)

What was Ellis Marsalis Jr.’s marital status? (single, engaged, married, or divorced)Married
How many children did Ellis Marsalis Jr. have?Six (Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Jason Marsalis, Delfeayo Marsalis, Ellis Marsalis III, Mboya Kenyatta Marsalis)
Who was Ellis Marsalis Jr.’s wife?Dolores Marsalis

Ellis Marsalis Jr. Net Worth

Ellis Marsalis Jr was a legendary jazz musician and educator. He worked for almost five decades in the musical field and gained popularity as a pianist. He worked for famous labels such as Elm, Blue Note, Columbia, and Sony. However, there are no official reports or proper records of his net worth.

Trivia: Important Facts about Ellis Marsalis Jr.

  • He was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • He died due to a coronavirus infection in his native place while hospitalized.
  • Favorite food: Salmon
  • Favorite color: Sky Blue
  • Favorite quote: What are you prepared to do?
  • Favorite Time of Year: Fall
  • Favorite Vacation Spot: Savannah, Georgia; Baltimore, Maryland
  • Marsalis and his sons were group recipients of the 2011 NEA Jazz Masters Award.
  • Marsalis has been named Sinfonia’s 24th Man of Music, the highest honor given by the fraternity to a member, for advancing the cause of music in America through performance, composition, or any other musical activity.

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