Google+ Followers

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Barbara McNair born 4 March 1934

Barbara McNair (March 4, 1934 – February 4, 2007) was an African American singer and actress.

Born Barbara Jean McNair in Chicago, Illinois and raised in Racine, Wisconsin. She was encouraged by her parents to sing and often took solos at church services and in school productions. She studied at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago, but her start in show business was by no means academic. Her big break came with a win on Arthur Godfrey's TV show Talent Scouts, which led to bookings at The Purple Onion and the Cocoanut Grove.

She made her début on Broadway in The Body Beautiful (1958), the same year that she started to make records. She soon became one of the country's most popular headliners and a guest on such television variety shows as The Steve Allen Show, Hullabaloo, The Bell Telephone Hour, and The Hollywood Palace, while recording for the Coral, Signature, Motown, and TEC Recording Studios labels. Among her hits were "You're Gonna Love My Baby" and "Bobby". In the early 1960s, McNair made several musical shorts for Scopitone, a franchise of coin-operated machines that showed what were the forerunners of today's music videos.

In 1963 McNair received good notices when she took over from Diahann Carroll in the Broadway musical No Strings, but she received racist taunts in the touring production as the show called for her to kiss a white man. She appeared in the television series Dr Kildare in 1964 and for several years she made guest appearances in TV dramas such as Hogan's Heroes, McMillan and Wife and Mission: Impossible.

When in 1965 Berry Gordy Jnr wanted to add middle-of-the-road sales to his Tamla-Motown labels, he signed McNair, Tony Martin and Billy Eckstine. McNair revealed that she was well capable of being a standard Motown performer, but Gordy refused her insidiously catchy "Baby A Go-Go". McNair released two fine albums, Here I Am (1966) and The Real Barbara McNair (1969), but many tracks lingered in the vaults, including a whole album of Smokey Robinson songs.

Although she did not have any commercial success with Motown, "You're Gonna Love My Baby" and "You Could Never Love Him" became favourites on the UK Northern Soul scene. A double album of released and unissued material, The Ultimate Motown Collection (2003), showed the quality of her work. Motown could have done more as she had a US TV series, The Barbara McNair Show (1969), with such guests as Johnny Mathis, B.B. King and Bob

Hope, with whom she toured in Vietnam.

McNair posed nude for Playboy in the October 1968 issue. She caught the attention of the movie-going public with her much-publicized nude sequences in the gritty crime drama If He Hollers Let Him Go (1968) opposite Raymond St. Jacques, then donned a nun's habit alongside Mary Tyler Moore for Change of Habit (1969), Elvis Presley's last feature film. She portrayed Sidney Poitier's wife in They Call Me Mister Tibbs! (1970) and its sequel, The Organization (1971).

McNair starred in her own 1969 television variety series The Barbara McNair Show, one of the first black women to host her own musical variety show. The show lasted three seasons till 1972, at the time she married Frederick Andrew Manzie (Rick Manzie), Mr. Manzie managed Barbara McNair and produced the show with Burt Rosen, they formed ABR Entertainment and the rights to the show are owned by the Manzie Family. The show starred A-list guests like Tony Bennett, Sonny and Cher, The Righteous Brothers, Johnny Mathis, Freda Payne, and many more entertainers that became superstars.

On December 15, 1976, her husband, Rick Manzie, was murdered, in their Las Vegas Bruce Street Mansion and Mafia boss-turned-FBI-informant Jimmy Fratianno later claimed in his book The Last Mafioso that Manzie had been a Mafia associate who tried to put a contract on the life of a mob-associated tax attorney with whom he had a legal dispute. The ensuing publicity did little to help McNair's career. This was not the cause of Manzie's murder.

Into her seventies, McNair resided in the Los Angeles area, playing tennis and skiing to keep in shape on a regular basis and touring on occasion. She died on February 4, 2007, of throat cancer, survived by her husband Charles Blecka, sister Jaquline Gaither, niece Angela Rosenow, and the nephew of her late husband Frederick Manzie, John Thomas and his family. (Info edited from Wikipedia & The Independent)



boppinbob said...

For “You’re Gonna Love…..Barbara McNair” go here:

01 He's A King
02 You're Gonna Love My Baby
03 Here I Am Baby
04 Everything Is Good About You
05 Steal Away Tonight
06 My World Is Empty Without You
07 Message To Michael
08 For Once In My Life
09 The Shadow Of Your Smile
10 I Will Wait For You
11 The Sweetheart Tree
12 What A Day
13 Fancy Passes
14 I Hear A Symphony
15 When I'm Gone
16 It Happens Everytime
17 Just One Teardrop (From A Broken Heart
18 If You Can Want
19 Where Would I Be Without You
20 You Could Never Love Him Like I Love Him
21 Who Invented Heartache
22 The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game
23 Forget You Ever Met My Baby
24 The Touch Of Time
25 Flipped Over You
26 Murray What's Your Hurry
27 Whatever Lola Wants

A big thank you to The Rockin’ Bandit for original link.

boppinbob said...

New Link for Days of Broken Arrows blog.

Days of Broken Arrows said...

Thanks! I really like Barbara's Motown stuff and there's songs here I haven't heard. Much appreciated.