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Thursday, 9 May 2013

Connie Russell born 9 May 1923

Connie Russell (May 9, 1923 - December 18, 1990) was an American movie actress. Born in New York City, she appeared in seven films from the 1930s through the 1950s. She played a lead role in the 1956 movie, Nightmare.

Shapely, sultry singer Connie Russell came from show biz parents and was already performing in her parent's song-and-dance vaudeville act by age two. The New York-born Connie, whose musical heritage included well-known vaudevillian and
grandmother Marie Russell, traveled both in the U.S. and Europe during her early days. She turned solo at age 11 and, quite mature for her age, began booking her own shows at popular London night spots in her mid-teens.

Making her musical film debut in Melody and Romance (1937) while in England, MGM signed her up and she appeared to good advantage in Lady Be Good (1941) in which she sang "Fascinating Rhythm" but, despite her pin-up good looks, did not go on to better things with the studio, appearing in nothing parts in Highway to Freedom (1942) and the Red Skelton/Eleanor Powell musical Ship Ahoy (1942). She also dubbed Claire Trevor's singing voice in the film Crossroads (1942).

TV proved to be more viable medium for her when she auditioned
for Dave Garroway and became a regular on his "Garroway at Large" (1949) show. She appeared on a number of variety TV shows for such luminaries as Morey Amsterdam, Ed Sullivan, Steve Allen, Milton Berle and Eddie Cantor, and appeared in New York clubs in the early 50s. Returning to Hollywood she earned a strong showing in the musical film Cruisin' Down the River (1953) alongside Dick Haymes and became a prominent Las Vegas headliner.

Her favorite stage role was as Nellie in South Pacific with Richard Eastham. It played a lengthy season in Chicago and she was on a short list for the film version. A year earlier on a turbulent flight, which came close to crashing, she made a promise, if she survived, never to fly again. This worked against her many times and caused her to miss out on South Pacific and other film and stage work.

Here's "I Wanna Be Loved" from above album.

A solid recording artist with a jazzy style. Recordings include the LPs “Don’t Smoke in Bed,” “Connie Russell Sings” and the much sought after “Playgirls.” Connie had a hit single with “That’s What a Rainy Day Is For,” which was sung by Tony Martin in Easy to Love. Her last films were in This Is My Love (1954), in which she appeared as herself and sang the title tune, and the femme lead in the film noir thriller Nightmare (1956) with Kevin McCarthy and Edward G. Robinson.

Marrying agent Mike Zimring, she abandoned her four-decade career after giving birth to her third daughter. Connie died December 18, 1990 at the age of 67, after a year’s battle with heart problems. At that time her eldest daughter, Lisa, was a singer and hoping to carry on with the Russell family tradition. (Info mainly IMDB mini bio)

1 comment:

boppinbob said...

For Connie Russell's LP "Don't Smoke In Bed" go here: