Anita Kert, 12 April 1920, Montreal, Canada. Born into an orthodox Jewish family, Ellis grew up surrounded by music. Her mother "played the piano and sang everything from opera arias to popular songs to old glorious Jewish songs". Her father was a cantor and for religious reasons the young girl was not allowed to sing in public. However, her mother was eager for her to have a show business career and when, during the depths of the Depression, the family moved to Los Angeles, California the young girl sought work in films and on radio.