Chicago pianist honored at 102nd birthday celebration at Palmer House Hilton

CHICAGO (WLS) -- This isn't the first time Bloomington, Ill. born Dorothy Olson has played the Empire Room at the Palmer House Hilton.

But after four decades, she was back Thursday afternoon. The Palmer House Hilton invited Olson and her family back for a birthday celebration complete with musicians and honors.

Olson is turning 102 on Friday and she began playing piano over 98 years ago. She's been playing for 84 years professionally in Chicago.

Although she describes herself as somewhat shy around celebrities, her daughter says she has played for the most iconic names.

"Dorothy has played for the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Dustin Hoffman, some of the famous baseball stars, Mickey Mantle, Joe Dimaggio, you name it - she's played for them in this wonderful Empire room," said her daughter Susan Nelson.

Olson shares some sage advice for those wanting know how she's stayed consistent in the music business all these years.

"You never quit, you never leave it. You always play whether you're employed or not," said Olson.

It looks like Olson has no plans to retire any time soon.

"She has several gigs coming up. So she's busy," said Nelson. "Paid gigs. I said 'Mom you can't die - you're booked.'"
Copyright © 2019 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.