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Saturday, 31 December 2016

Rex Allen born 31 December 1920


Rex Elvie Allen (December 31, 1920 – December 17, 1999) was an American film and television actor, singer and songwriter, known as "the Arizona Cowboy" and as the narrator of many Disney nature and Western productions. For contributions to the recording industry, Allen was honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 

He was born in Willcox, Arizona, in 1921, and entered show business professionally when he won a state-wide talent contest in 1939, which led to a singing job on the radio. In 1946 he became a regular on the National Barn Dance, one of the top country-and-western radio shows in the country, and this led to a recording contract with Mercury and his own CBS radio show in Hollywood. Republic signed him in 1949, released his first film, The Arizona Cowboy, in 1950, and the following year Allen was the fifth biggest money- maker of western stars (after Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Tim Holt and Charles Starrett). From 1952 to 1954 he was third only to Rogers and Autry. 

His trick pony, Koko the Wonder Horse, made his debut in Allen's second film, The Hills of Oklahoma, and was to be in all his other films and later became an integral part of Allen's touring live act, billed as "The Miracle Horse of the Movies", until he died in 1968 at the age of 28. 
 
Allen's Republic films, 31 in five years, included Under Mexicali Stars (1950, the first in which he had Buddy Ebsen as a comic sidekick, and one of Allen's best roles, as a singing Treasury agent who catches a gang of smugglers who are using a helicopter to get stolen gold across the border), Rodeo King and the Senorita (1951, a remake of an earlier John Wayne film, The Cowboy and the Lady, and one of Allen's personal favourites), and Colorado Sundown (1952, with Slim Pickens replacing Ebsen). 

Like many of Allen's films, Colorado Sundown was directed by Republic's veteran William Witney, one of the great serial directors noted for his energetic style. "Witney was my favourite director," said Allen. "He could get more on the screen for a dollar than any director I've ever known." That skill was put to good use on Down Laredo Way (1953), made with a noticeably lower budget than the earlier films and a sign that the genre was fading. Allen's last western for Republic was The Phantom Stallion, made in 1954, the year the B western officially died. 
 
 

 
Allen already had a thriving record career, his hit records for the Mercury label including Streets of Laredo (1947), The Roving Kind (1951) and Crying in the Chapel (1953), and in 1958 he appeared in his first television series, Frontier Doctor. He also made personal appearances, did television commercials, and in 1961 was one of five stars who appeared on a rotating basis in the television show Five Star Jubilee, the others being Snooky Lanson, Tex Ritter, Jimmy Wakely and Carl Smith. (The show was never telecast in New York because of its primarily rural appeal.) 

In 1962 Allen narrated Walt Disney's live-action feature about the life of a wolf, The Legend of Lobo, "a tale of the old West told in story and song", for which he also provided music with the Sons of the Pioneers, and his warm approach was greatly admired. The critic Bosley Crowther commented, "The theme and the drama, what little of the latter there is, is carried in the narration, which cheerily endows the wolf with a great deal more charm and character than is evidenced on the screen", while the historian Leonard Maltin recently wrote: "Lobo's biggest asset, aside from the always first-rate raw footage, is the soundtrack . . . Allen, a former cowboy star, became a Disney favourite in the 1960s, and with good reason. His friendly, easy-going approach to the script brings a great deal of life to any subject." 

Allen ultimately narrated more than 80 Disney films and television shows, including The Incredible Journey (1963) and Charlie the Lonesome Cougar (1967), and in 1973 narrated the Hanna-Barbera animated feature Charlotte's Web. He also made guest appearances on television variety shows such as The Red Skelton Show. 

In the 1970s, though retired from film and television, he still led an active life. He owned a 20-acre ranch, the Diamond X, in Malibu Canyon, and spent over half the year on personal appearance tours - after Koko died, he would be accompanied by Koko junior, a chocolate-coloured stallion with a honey mane exactly like his famous sire.

Rex Allen died on December 17, 1999, two weeks before his 79th birthday, in Tucson, Arizona, after he sustained fatal injuries when his caregiver accidentally ran over him in the driveway. Cremated, his ashes were scattered at Railroad Park in Willcox where most of his memorabilia are on display. 


One of his children, Rex Allen Jnr, followed him into show business, and had a successful career as a Nashville recording artist. (Info mainly edited from an article by Tom Vallance @ the Independent.co.uk)


Friday, 30 December 2016

Russ Tamblyn born 30 December 1934


Russell Irving "Russ" Tamblyn (born December 30, 1934) is an American film and television actor and dancer, who is best known for his performance in the title role of the 1958 Tom Thumb and the 1961 movie musical West Side Story as Riff, the leader of the Jets gang. He is also known for appearing in such films as Seven

Brides For Seven Brothers, The War of the Gargantuas, Peyton Place and The Haunting, as well as for his portrayal of Dr. Lawrence Jacoby in the television drama Twin Peaks. 
 
Tamblyn was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of actors Sally Aileen (Triplett) (1912-1995) and Eddie Tamblyn (Edward Francis Tamblyn) (1908-1957). He is the older brother of Larry Tamblyn, organist for the 1960s band The Standells. 

He was discovered at age 10 by Lloyd Bridges, who cast him in a play he was directing. In his first film, three years later, he played a friend of The Boy with Green Hair, Dean Stockwell. In his first starring role, he played The Kid from Cleveland, a runaway who becomes batboy for the 1948 Cleveland Indians.  He was the boy with an unhealthy fascination with guns in the original Gun Crazy, and Elizabeth Taylor's kid brother in the original Father of the Bride. His training as a gymnast in high school and abilities as an acrobat prepared him for his breakout role as Gideon, the youngest brother, in 1954's Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. 

He appeared with Glenn Ford and Broderick Crawford in The Fastest Gun Alive (1956), where he performed an extraordinary "shovel" dance at a hoe-down early in the film. Though uncredited, he served as a choreographer for Elvis Presley in 1957's Jailhouse Rock. Tamblyn portrayed Norman Page in the 1957 film of Peyton Place, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Tamblyn then played Tony Baker in 1958's High School Confidential prior to his being drafted into the United States Army.  
 



His performances in film musicals have included the title role in 1958's Tom Thumb and Danny, one of the sailors in the 1955 film version of Hit the Deck. His most famous musical role was Riff, the leader of the Jets in West Side Story (1961). 

He was Oscar-nominated for the steamy-for-the-50s Peyton Place, playing the boy wrongly accused of skinny-dipping with Lana Turner's daughter. In The Haunting, Tamblyn's character inherits the haunted mansion, and cynically dismisses all talk of ghosts. He also starred in one of the all-time great cheesy Japanese science fiction films from the legendary Toho Studios, titled The War of the Gargantuas in its American release.

By then, Russ decided to be more of an artist than just another actor. He fired his agent, took up painting, and began accepting only the roles that interested him. Among his best work from that time, he co-wrote and starred in an anti-nuke musical, Human Highway. He worked with the dancers on the series Fame, and appeared in a few episodes playing "Russ, the choreographer". He played Dr Jacoby on Twin Peaks, and later took the same character to General Hospital in 1997 dancing with his daughter Amber during the Nurses Ball.  
 
Tamblyn has also appeared in television series such as Tarzan, Fame (the 1980s television spin-off of the film of the same name), Quantum Leap, Nash Bridges and in Babylon 5 (episode "A Distant Star"). Russ Tamblyn also played Chuck Margaret on The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret.
 
The actor’s last co-starring roles were shot overseas with the British-produced chiller “The Haunting” with Julie Harris and Claire Bloom. “I loved working with Harris and Claire, they were powerful actors who knew exactly how to make a character real and sometimes terrifying.  I watched in awe whenever they were in front of the camera.”
 
As so many other actors of his era he has taken on choreographic duties and managing his actress/daughter Amber Tamblyn who is recognized for her performance in “Joan of Arcadia.”  “I have no complaints,” he said. “I was lucky as hell to be given the chances I go and I’m still around to talk about it. And yes, I still miss all those guys who made Westside Story magic time!”


Russ underwent open heart surgery in October 2014. There were complications following the surgery and during the rehabilitation, although his health had reportedly improved as of February 2015.
(Info edited from NNDB.com & Wikipedia) 


Russ Tamblyn dancing in the Fastest Gun Alive (1956)



Thursday, 29 December 2016

Virgil Johnson born 29 December 1935


Virgil Lewis Johnson (December 29, 1935 – February 24, 2013) was an African American deejay, formerly at radio station KDAV in Lubbock.  

Virgil Johnson was the lead singer of the Velvets, a vocal quintet from Odessa, West Texas. They are best remembered for their 1961 hit "Tonight (Could Be The Night)", which peaked at # 26 on the Billboard pop charts. On that song the Velvets can be heard chanting "doo-wop" behind lead singer Johnson, one of the first uses of the phrase in a song. Still, the Velvets were not really a doo-wop group. Their sound was highly polished and the backing usually included strings. 

Johnson was born in Cameron, the seat of Milam County in east central Texas. The family relocated to Lubbock, and Johnson graduated there from the historically black Dunbar High School, an institution known for its outstanding academics and reputation within the community. Later he would be principal of his alma mater and obtained a graduate degree from Texas Tech University in Lubbock. He was teaching eighth-grade English at Blackshear Junior High School in Odessa, the seat of Ector County, in 1959, when he recruited four of his students to form a singing group. They were Mark Prince (bass), Clarence Rigsby (tenor), Robert Thursby (first tenor), and William Solomon (baritone). 
 
The quintet began to perform at school sock-hops and campus functions, with Johnson as lead singer. In 1960 they impressed Roy Orbison, who heard them whilst visiting Odessa, and recommended the group to Fred Foster, the owner of Monument Records and the producer of Roy's big hit at that time, "Only the Lonely". Foster signed the group and came up with the name The Velvets. In fact, he decided it should be the Velvets featuring Virgil Johnson because there was another group called the Velvets, years before. They had a song out called "I" on Bobby Robinson's Red Robin label. 

In 1960, the singers impressed the native Texan Roy Orbison, who heard them while he was visiting Odessa. Orbison recommended the five to Fred Foster, the owner of Monument Records in Nashville, Tennessee, who had produced Orbison's hit "Only the Lonely". Foster originated the name "The Velvets featuring Virgil Johnson" to distinguish the five from an earlier group called simply "The Velvets". The group recorded "That Lucky Old Sun"/"Time And Again" and "Tonight (Could Be The Night)"/"Spring Fever". Orbison wrote the two B-sides, but "Tonight" was the work of Johnson. Their accompaniment came from Boots Randolph and Floyd Cramer. 
 

 
 

 After the success of "Tonight", the group's next release was "Lana"/ "Laugh", both written by Roy Orbison and Joe Melson. "We should never have put those two songs out together", says Johnson. "Part of the country was playing one side and another part of the country was playing the other side". "Laugh" stalled at # 90, but "Lana" (soon also recorded by Orbison himself) was # 1 in Japan. Monument continued putting out Velvets' singles, nine in all, until 1966. 

 Some of them were quite good, but there were no further chart entries and the group called it a day and went back to a Texas they had never really left. Johnson resumed teaching. He retired from his job as principal of Lubbock's historically black Dunbar High School (1985–1993) and as principal of Dunbar-Struggs Middle School (1968–1984). In 1993, Dunbar became Magnet Junior High School Science Academy. In Lubbock, Johnson was a deejay on Radio KSEL before he switched to KDAV after his retirement from education. Clarence Rigsby, meanwhile, died in a car crash in 1978. 

Johnson was inducted into the West Texas Walk of Fame in 1997, along with Glenna Goodacre and Dan Blocker. In 1994, Johnson was inducted into the Buddy Holly West Texas Walk of Fame, renamed in 2006 as the West Texas Hall of Fame, located at Seventh Street and Avenue Q in Lubbock. 

Over the weekend of March 15, 2008, Johnson and another KDAV deejay, Bud Andrews, were featured on Bob Phillips' Texas Country Reporter syndicated television program. In 2008, he was listed among the "100 Most Influential People" from Lubbock, as part of the city centennial observation.

 

Virgil died on February 24, 2013 at the Covenant Hospital in Lubbock, TX. He was 77. (Info mainly edited from Wikipedia)
 
 

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Billy Williams born 28 December 1910


Billy Williams (December 28, 1910 – October 17, 1972) was an African-American singer.  

Born Wilfred Williams in Waco, Texas, Williams became the lead singer of the Harmony Four. This singing quartet was formed by Howard Daniel at Wilberforce College in central Ohio during 1930. This group began with traditional gospel music but eventually became The Charioteers. 

They soon made the jump to network radio with Bing Crosby and others. Bit parts in movies followed, as did records-first with Decca and Vocalion, and finally a long term deal with Columbia Records (on both the parent label and its affiliate Okeh). By the early and mid 1940s they specialized in pop and jazz standards with tenor lead by Billy and smooth harmonies by the rest of the group. 

In 1947 they had their own top ten seller in everybody's big song of the year with "Open The Door Richard" and followed that with their cover of other artists songs of the time. One final chart hit for The Charioteers came in 1949; the version of the song "A Kiss And A Rose." By late 1949 after close to two decades as the front man for the group Billy Williams decided to call it quits with The Charioteers and form a new vocal quartet and give himself more of a say in matters musical and financial. The Charioteers lost their leader and also the long association with Columbia and were seldom heard from again.
 
The new foursome was the self named Billy Williams Quartet who landed a guest spot on the television weekly called "The Admiral Saturday Night Revue" for the NBC television network. In May of 1950 MGM Records signs the group to its label and soon has appearances at New York's Roxy Theatre and Blue Angel nightclub and they land a spot on the Henry Morgan radio show. In September the quartet is signed on as a regular feature of a revamped Saturday Night Revue show called "Your Show Of Shows" to star Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca for NBC.  
 
They become one of the first Black performers to have a regular spot on a network variety show, and used a memorable opening with a dramatic line-up by the group as they led into their songs. Their television exposure helps the group as they spend the summer of 1951 doing an extended and well received stay in Los Angeles at the Tiffany Club. The quartet also has their first charted record during the summer with "Shanghai" on MGM records that is a top twenty seller. As they begin their second year on the NBC tv show, their cover of the Four Aces "Sin" hits the pop charts.
 
 

  
During the 50’s the group also made some notable recordings on the Mercury and Coral labels, but by 1957 the quartet was no more. Billy hung on trying to make it as a solo performer without much luck until he  unearthed a tune written in 1936 called "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter", gave it a pop flavoured delivery spiced with a few Timmie Rogers derived "oh yeahs", and lo and behold, a pop smash was hatched. It was incomprehensible, but there it was-a number three nationally, and close to five months on the pop charts.  

The record was huge, and it was at the right time for Billy to make history when he became the very first guest on the national telecast of American Bandstand. Summing up his life at that point, to Dick Clark's question of what was keeping him busy Williams answered slyly "oh yeah !" And so Billy Williams had done that very special characteristic of entertainers-the re-invention of oneself. He followed up his huge and unexpected success with similar attempts including "Got A date With An Angel" and "Nola."  Both charted briefly, and once again Billy Williams was adrift in the world of pop music. He kept at it even though such releases as "Good Night Irene" and "Begin The Beguine" went nowhere. A duet with budding songstress Barbara McNair also disappeared. And soon so did Billy Williams who became a fifties memory throughout the sixties. 

Sadly, Billy Williams faded into obscurity and in the early 1960s he lost his voice due to complications from diabetes. His final years were spent living in donated quarters in Chicago, where he did social work, contributing to a model cities project and helping alcoholics. This man whose vocal talents were featured for three decades unfortunately came to an inglorious end. In October of 1972 at the age of 61, he passed away. 

The city authorities could not find anyone to claim the body or to provide for a decent burial. He deserved better.  But luckily for us, we have the music. From the soaring tenor singing of The Charioteers, to the dramatic vocals of the Billy Williams Quartet, to the playful oldies of his solo days,  Billy Williams was a true American original. Remember his music, and most of all, remember him.
 
(Info from various sources, but mainly edited from “The Charioteers, The Quartet, and Billy Williams” by J.C.Marion)

            Here's a vintage clip from The Charioteers
 

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Walter Norris born 27 December 1931



Walter Norris (December 27, 1931 – October 29, 2011) was an American pianist and composer; a virtuoso whose improvisations could be both very complex harmonically yet often remain melodic. He would have been better known in the U.S. if he had not spent so much time in Germany. 

Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, on December 27, 1931, Norris first studied piano at home with his mother, then with John Summers, a local church organist. His first professional performances were with the Howard Williams Band in and around Little Rock during his junior high and high school years. (1944-1950).  After graduating from high school, Norris played briefly with Mose Allison, then did a two-year tour in the US Air Force.  

After his time in the Air Force, Norris played with Jimmy Ford in Houston, Texs, (1952-1953), then moved to Los Angeles where he led his own trio in Las Vegas (1953-1954)and  became an integral part of the West Coast Jazz scene. While in Los Angeles, he played on Jack Sheldon's first album and on Ornette Coleman's first album, Something Else! (1958), for Contemporary Records. 
 
 
     Here's "Smoke Get's In Your Eyes" from above album.
 

 
In 1960, Norris relocated to New York City and formed a trio with guitarist Billy Bean and bassist Hal Gaylor, and the group made one album. Norris took a job at the New York City Playboy Club in 1963 and in time became the club's Director of Entertainment,
remaining there until 1970. Between 1970 and 1974, Norris was a free-lance performer and taught in the New York area. In 1974, he replaced Roland Hanna in the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Band. After a tour of Scandinavia, he remained in Europe to record a duo album with double bass player George Mraz, titled Drifting. 

Returning to the states, Norris joined the Charles Mingus Quintet in 1976. In the dressing room prior to a performance, according to Norris, he made the mistake of calling the temperamental Mingus "Charlie" instead of "Charles," which angered Mingus. At that
moment, the stage manager entered the room and told the musicians they were needed onstage immediately, which provided a temporary escape from confrontation. Norris quit the band and accepted a job in Berlin, Germany, as pianist with the Sender Freies Berlin-Orchestra. He moved to Berlin in January 1977 and lived there from that point. He insisted that his fear of Mingus was the primary cause of the move to Europe. 

the 1990s, Walter Norris visited the U.S. several times, recording dates for Concord and displaying his impressive musical growth of the previous 20 years. The resulting recordings were all significant, but especially Sunburst (with saxophonist Joe Henderson), Hues of Blues (with George Mraz), and the Live at Maybeck Recital Hall solo piano album. In 1998, without a record contract, Norris self-financed the album From Another Star, made in New York with bassist Mike Richmond, pressing 1,000 copies. 



A documentary film directed by Chuck Dodson, was completed in 2010 and cn be seen here:   https://vimeo.com/55061860
In 2005 an autobiography, "In Search of Musical Perfection" and method book "Essentials for Pianist Improvisers" were released. In July 2006, Norris recorded at his home in Berlin with Los Angeles bassist Putter Smith.

He died on October 29, 2011 at his home in Berlin, Germany, two months prior to what would have been his 80th birthday.  (Info edited from Wikipedia & All Music)

Monday, 26 December 2016

Johnny Chester born 26 December 1941


John Howard "Johnny" Chester (born 26 December 1941) is an Australian singer-songwriter, who started his career in October 1959 singing rock'n'roll and in 1969 changed to country music.
John Howard Chester was born on 26 December 1941 and grew up in Melbourne's suburb of Preston. Chester attended Bell Primary and followed with Preston Technical School. At the age of 14-years-old he left school and worked as a brake specialist for his father. He had learned to play the drums, from the age of six, and guitar. In October 1959 Chester formed a band, The Jaywoods, and organised dances at a West Preston church hall.
The Jaywoods' rehearsals were attracting a crowd to St. Cecilia's Hall in West Preston, which turned into regular Saturday night dance". By 1960 The Jaywoods became Johnny Chester and The Chessmen with Chester on lead vocals. Chester was also backed by The Thunderbirds, which were an instrumental group formed in 1957. Both backing bands maintained independent careers, released their own material and backed other artists. In April 1961 Chester's first stadium performance was supporting Connie Francis and Johnny Burnette.
One of Chester’s early fans was radio DJ, Stan Rofe, who introduced him to the A&R manager of Melbourne’s W&G records. Chester signed with the label and issued his debut single, "Hokey Pokey", in May 1961 with backing by The Thunderbirds.
 
 
 



The track became a top 10 hit in Melbourne and a series of 9 more hit singles followed, establishing him as a teen idol, in Melbourne. He had also issued his debut album, Wild and Warm in 1963 and two extended plays, Johnny Chester's Hit Parade and My Blues and I, with W&G. In February that year he started hosting his own TV show, Teen Time on Ten, on a regional Gippsland channel. 

He recorded further material for W&G on their sub-label, In Records but none charted and by mid-1966 he parted with the W&G and The Chessmen. He then formed the Johnny Chester Trio. As well as maintaining his musical career, for eight years, Chester was a DJ on Melbourne's radio station, 3UZ. In May 1968 Chester formed a new backing band, Jigsaw who  also had an independent career. His last pop single, "Heaven Help the Man", appeared in 1968 on Astor Records. In 1969 his first two country music singles, "Green Green" and "Highway 31", were issued on Phillips Records. Johnny Chester and Jigsaw signed to Fable Records, owned by Tudor (ex-W&G Records).
In August 1970 Jigsaw, without Chester, had a number-one hit with a cover version of United Kingdom group, Christie's "Yellow River", it was co-credited with Sydney-based band Autumn which also covered the track. With Chester, they had five hit singles on the Go-Set National Top 40: "Gwen (Congratulations)" (No. 26, October 1971), "Shame and Scandal" (No. 13, February 1972), "Midnight Bus" (No. 25, December), "The World's Greatest Mum" (No. 9, August 1973) and "She's My Kind of Woman" (No. 19, June 1974).
Chester has won Golden Guitars at the Country Music Awards of Australia for best selling track in 1975 In 1977 Chester toured nationally, backed by the Blue Denim Country Band, and also compared Country Road for ABC-TV. In 1979 he formed Hotspur and continued to issue country music singles and albums into the 1980s.
From 1981 to 1983, at three successive Tamworth Country Music Festivals, he won Male Vocalist of the Year. In 1994 he was awarded the Songmaker of the Year Award from the Tamworth Songwriters Association.
In October 1964 Johnny Chester married Larraine "Liz" Isbister, a stenographer. Liz had attended the same primary school and their grandparents were neighbours. The couple had begun dating in September 1959 – to the Royal Melbourne Show. As from October 2012 they have three daughters, eight grandchildren and live in Rosebud. (Info edited from Wikipedia)
 

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Janet Carroll born 24 December 1940

 
Janet Carroll (December 24, 1940 – May 22, 2012) was an American film, stage and television character actress. 
 
Janet Carroll's career spanned more than four decades and included major roles in Broadway musicals and Hollywood productions, but was perhaps most recognized for her portrayal of the oblivious mother of Joel (Tom Cruise) in the 1983 film Risky Business. 

Carroll was born Janet Carol Thiese in Chicago, the daughter of Hilda Catherine (née Patton) and George Nicholas Thiese. She received formal theatrical training and began acting professionally in the late 1960s, appearing in numerous productions in local theatres. She then became a regular at Starlight Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri, where she acted during five seasons. 

Vocally, she began classical training at age 12 with Dr. Greta Allum in Chicago. Over the years she continued building and expanding her voice and repertoire in formal study with Douglas Susu-Mago. With a fluent  3 1⁄2-octave vocal range, she was able to sing everything from opera to jazz and Broadway style to gospel music and Dixieland genre. 

Notably, Carroll sang as a first soprano with the esteemed Canterbury Choral Society in New York City featuring sacred choral masterpieces of J. S. Bach, Antonín Dvořák and Gustav Mahler at Carnegie Hall and other venues across NYC. 

Carroll then performed in Kansas City and Chicago, assuming significant roles in such musicals as Carousel, Guys and Dolls, Gypsy, Hello, Dolly!, Mame, South Pacific and The Pajama Game, before moving to California, where she continued her stage work, winning a Drama-Logue Award for her performance as Klytemnestra in Ezra Pound’s Elektra.
 

 

 
Besides Risky Business, Carroll appeared in more than 20 other films over the next three decades. She developed her television
career with recurring roles on the series Hill Street Blues, The Bronx Zoo, Murphy Brown, Married... with Children, Melrose Place  and Still Standing and guest appearances in many other television roles. 

From 2004 through 2005, Carroll starred on Broadway creating the role of Aunt March in the original musical Little Women, which is based in the 1869 novel of the same title written by American author Louisa May Alcott. She promoted brands such as Century 21, Diet Coke, Outback Steakhouse and Holiday Inn, among others, in television advertisement spots.

In addition to her acting career, since 1982, she performed as a singer at Jazz Festivals throughout the United States and Canada, being accompanied by her seven piece format, while interpreting traditional jazz, swing, blues, and classic ballads or the Great American Songbook. 



She performed in Victoria and Vancouver summer festivals in British Columbia, as well as in Monterey, Los Angeles, Newport Beach, Santa Catalina Island, and New Orleans stages, along with concerts at United Service Organizations shows, At the Redding Jazz Festival, she was honoured with an award for Best Vocalist. In 2004, she was the featured performer at the Porrath Foundation for Cancer Patient Advocacy Event tribute to film star Rhonda Fleming. 

After twelve years of formal training Janet Carroll was ordained and licensed at the West Los Angeles' Church of Inner Light. An active participant in social issues, Carroll was a longstanding member of the Screen Actor's Guild and American Federation of
Radio Artists and Actors Equity Association. She also served as the Artistic Director of The Jazz Series at Simi Valley's Cultural Arts Centre.  

In 1992, Carroll collaborated as a singer on the album This Joint Is Jumpin' Live! – Beverly Hills Unlisted Jazz Band, a recording project led by Dixieland trombonist and actor Conrad Janis. She later released her solo albums Presenting... Janet Carroll and the Hollywood Jazz Cats (1992), I Can't Give You Anything But Love (2000), I'll Be Seeing You (2000) and Lady Be Good (2010). 

By 2011, she was preparing the production of her fourth and fifth records titled A Tribute to the Great Ladies of Song! and Scorch Your Shorts Torch Songs!. She was diagnosed with brain cancer later that year and took a leave of absence. She underwent surgery and chemotherapy without success. 

Carroll died from brain cancer at her home in Manhattan, aged 71.  (Info Wikipedia)