Dinah Shore (born Frances Rose Shore; February 29, 1916 – February 24, 1994) was an American singer, actress, television personality, and the top-charting female vocalist of the 1940s. She reached the height of her popularity as a recording artist during the Big Band era of the 1940s and 1950s, but achieved even greater success a decade later, in television, mainly as hostess of a series of variety programs for Chevrolet.
She was born Francis Rose in Winchester, Tennessee to Russian Jewish immigrants Solomon and Anna Shore, her father a successful businessman. Called "Fanny," she recovered from a bout with polio as a toddler but was left with an impaired leg which would be problematic during her entire life.
She was a busy active teenager growing up in the Winchester area located a short distance from Nashville. "Fanny" attended Nashville's Hume-Fogg High School where she was a cheerleader and excelled in athletics. After graduation, she enrolled at Vanderbilt University becoming head of her sorority and active in golf and tennis. "Fanny" took voice and acting lessons from a tutor and often sang on radio station WSM Nashville. Even with a sociology degree in hand from Vanderbilt, she was determined to have a career in show business.
Believing her best chance lie in New York City, she immediately moved there after graduation in 1938. However, her goal of being a star was elusive and Francis Rose Shore encountered nothing but rejection. She became noticed after singing with a young amateur by the name of Frank Sinatra leading her into Xavier Cugat's Orchestra as a vocalist and finally to NBC as a staff singer on the networks radio programs.
After signing a record contract with RCA, she gained national prominence and her singing career skyrocketed. In the early 1940s she began to release hits such as "Jim" and "Blues in the Night."
The war years were productive as she recorded many hit records while becoming a mainstay on the Armed Forces Radio network and even had her own radio show She further helped the war effort going overseas to entertain American troops, singing songs like "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To" and "I'll Walk Alone," which reached No. 1. She added her own military trophy with marriage to George Montgomery only days before he left for an enlistment in the Army Air Force. The two were married from 1943 to 1962.
In the late 1940s, Shore continued to enjoy success on the charts. Her hits from this period include such songs as "I Love You for Sentimental Reasons" and "Buttons and Bows."
In the post-war, Dinah's attempts at a movie career were mediocre but she had some success in musical films..."Belle of the Yukon" "Up in Arms" and "Till the Clouds Roll By." She appeared in and made many movies for television and was the musical voice in these Disney pictures..."Make Mine Music" and "Fun and Fancy Free." However, her saviour in 1951 was the new medium called television. As host on "The Dinah Shore Show" she became the first woman to host her own variety show soon overlapping with a second show "The Dinah Shore Chevy Show." When the show closed in 1963, Dinah literally disappeared only to immerge on occasion for guest appearances on various shows.
She had a brief marriage to tennis player Maurice Fabian Smith (1963 – 1964). In the 1970s, Shore became known for her relationship with a much younger man—actor Burt Reynolds.
She arrived back on television in the early 70's hosting the popular NBC daytime talk and variety show, "Dinah's Place." Her final series was a weekly television show called "A conservation With Dinah" which ended in 1991 after she experienced stomach pains and was taken to St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica where she was diagnosed with cancer. Her treatment was unsuccessful and she would pass away less than a year later at her Beverly Hills residence with her family at her bedside. She was cremated and after a final service at Hillside Memorial Park Chapel a portion of her divided ashes were placed in a wall crypt located in the Park. Another portion was interred at Forest Lawn, Cathedral City located near her desert residence.
Dinah Shore's 55 years in show business included more than 70 hit recordings. She had a Peabody Award, 10 Emmy Awards with 3 stars on the Hollywood Walk. (Bio edited mainly from D. Greyfield & Biography.com)