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Nellie Monk: 1921-2002
Nellie Monk

Born: 1921 in St Petersburg, Florida
Died: June 25, 2002 in New York City, New York

Nellie Monk, devoted supporter of Thelonious

Copyright © 2002 


Nellie Monk, the wife of pianist Thelonious Monk and mother of drummer Thelonious Monk, Jr, died of a a cerebral hemorrhage in hospital in Manhatten. She was a devoted supporter, encourager and protector of her famously eccentric late husband throughout his career. She dealt with a great deal of his business affairs, as well as providing a buffer between Monk and the world.

The couple first met in 1935, when Nellie was only 14, and were together from around 1947 until the pianist's death in 1982. In the final decade of his life, they moved from New York to the house of Baroness Nica de Koenigswarter in New Jersey, but she returned to live in New York after his death. She seldom spoke in public about her relationship with Monk, but is featured in the documentrary film Straight No Chaser.

Their daughter, Barbara, know as Boo Boo, died in 1984. She is survived by her son, a grandson and a grandaughter.

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