Thelma Carpenter is best known as a jazz singer and a Broadway performer, but she has also acted in a handful of feature films, beginning with The Devil's Daughter (1972). Her best-known film role was that of Miss One in Sidney Lumet's overblown musical The Wiz (1978). The Brooklyn-born Carpenter began her career singing on radio station WNYC when she was 11. As a teen, Carpenter sang at Kelly's Stable on 52nd Street. She made her first recording with Teddy Wilson's band in 1939. Before taking her first Broadway bow opposite Bill "Bojangles" Robinson in the musical Memphis Bound (1944), Carpenter sang with Coleman Hawkins and the Count Basie Orchestra as well as occasionally appearing with Duke Ellington. Her career on-stage would include 100 shows and last through the '60s. Carpenter has also worked on television in such series as The Cosby Show and Love Boat. Shortly before her death in 1997, she appeared in the CBS sitcom Cosby. Carpenter died of a massive heart attack at age 75.