Saturday, 10 March 2018

Marion Hutton born 10 March 1919

Marion Hutton (born Marion Thornburg; March 10, 1919 – January 10, 1987) was an American singer and actress. She is best remembered for her singing with the Glenn Miller Orchestra from 1938–1942. She was the sister of actress and singer Betty Hutton and is considered one of the pre-eminent female vocalists of the Big Band era.  

Born as Marion Thornburg in Fort Smith, Arkansas, she was the elder sister of actress Betty Hutton. They were raised in Battle Creek, Michigan. The sisters' father abandoned the family when they were both young; he later committed suicide. Their mother worked a variety of jobs to support the family until she became a successful bootlegger.  

Both sisters sang with the Vincent Lopez Orchestra in 1938. Marion’s career took a turn for the better when Glenn Miller heard the two sisters sing one night in Boston and she was invited to join the Glenn Miller Orchestra.
Hutton was not allowed to sing in the nightclubs due to the fact she was underage. Miller and his wife Helen signed papers to officially declare themselves foster parents to serve as Hutton's chaperone in the nightclubs which allowed her access in these venues. Marion Hutton considered herself more an entertainer than a singer.
"I was only seventeen then and so Glenn and Helen [Miller] became my legal guardians. He was like a father because I never had a father I remembered." Miller wanted Hutton to appear as an all-American girl, so on her first few performances he introduced her as "Sissy Jones." The pseudonym was not used beyond those first performances. 

In the summer of 1939 Marion was replaced by Kay Starr as Miller's female lead after she collapsed on the bandstand due to exhaustion. She soon returned and all went well until early 1941 when a gossip columnist discovered that she was pregnant. Though she was married and could have easily sang with the band for several more months despite her condition. The embarrassment was too much for her, and she resigned. Miller replaced her with Bobby Byrne vocalist Dorothy Claire. 

Marion returned to Miller in August, however, and stayed until the orchestra's final night, until the orchestra disbanded in 1942.  Songs she was identified with included ''Kalamazoo,'' ''Chatanooga Choo Choo,'' ''Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree,'' ''I'll Be Seeing You,'' and "The Five O'clock Whistle." 

Marion Hutton had a small role in the film Orchestra Wives (1942; Twentieth Century Fox), in which the Glenn Miller Orchestra starred. After Miller joined the Army in 1942, she went with fellow Miller performers Tex Beneke and the Modernaires on a theatre tour. 

The next important event in her entertainment career was a role in “In Society” with Abbott and Costello in 1944. Marion Hutton appeared with the Desi Arnaz orchestra in October 1947 at the Radio City Theatre in Minneapolis. As the 1940s wound down, so did Marion's career. Her last film role was in 1949, acting in the Marx Brothers' Love Happy. 

Hutton was married three times. She married publicist and television producer Jack Philbin in 1940. She and Philbin had two sons, John and Phillip. Her next marriage, to writer Jack Douglas, produced a third son, Peter. Peter Hemming is a noted photojournalist. Her last and longest marriage was in 1954 to Vic Schoen, an arranger for the Andrews Sisters and Bing Crosby, among other artists in the 1940s. The couple remained married until her death in 1987. Looking back on her first marriage, in 1974 she told George T. Simon, “What I wanted most of all was to be a wife and mother. I had no drive for a career." 

Marion struggled with alcoholism and prescription drug abuse in her later life until seeking treatment in 1965, after she devoted her life to helping other women with the same problem. Going back to school in 1972, she earned a master’s degree in family counselling. Schoen arranged music for Glenn Miller Remembered, a PBS production videotaped in Seattle, 1984, starring Tex Beneke and Marion Hutton. 

She and Schoen eventually settled in Kirkland, Washington, where Marion served as director of Residence XII, an alcoholic treatment centre for women, a position she held until her death in 1987 after a long bout with cancer. Marion Hutton was 67.  
(Compiled from numerous sources mainly Wikipedia).


boppinbob said...

I found one small compilation of Marion’s on the web entitled Marion Hutton On the Air. This contained a few tracks from Glen Miller’s radio shows and in poor quality. So I decided to put matters aright in compiling my own little collection with a few solo tracks and some with The Modernaires and Tex Beneke with the Miller Orchestra from the 1940’s. The last two tracks are both sides of the 1955 single with her sister Betty as The Hutton Sisters.

So for “Marion Hutton – From the Vaults” go here:

1. Jack and Jill
2. A-Tisket A-Tasket
3. Be Happy
4. Lights Out Hold me Tight
5. One Dozen Roses
6. The Woodpecker Song
7. We Can Live On Love
8. Say Si Si
9. No More Toujour L’amour
10. Ain’t Cha Comin’ Out
11. But it Didn’t Mean a Thing
12. I Just Got a Letter
13. That’s Sabotage
14. Say’s Who, Say’s You, Say’s I
15. Fresh As a Daisy
16. The Rhumba Jumps
17. The Man With the Mandolin
18. Five O’Clock Whistle
19. I’m Not Much On Looks
20. Bluebirds In the Moonlight
21. The gentleman Needs a Shave
22. Let’s have Another Cup Of Coffee
23. Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree
24. Heart Throb
25. Ko Ko Mo (I Love You So)

tanktop said...

Hi Bob,

THANK YOU for honouring Marion Hutton like this, as you have so many other music luminaries on your wonderful blog.
Glenn Miller music is my number one! Marion is beloved to me in the original mix, always a vivacious experience!
Your biographical presentation made me very emotional, as she left us too soon.
And what a THRILL that you used your own time and resources to share a glittering collection of her performances!
WOW. I am in heaven to be able to listen to a generous selection of Marion only (and not have to cherry-pick or skip through entire, though wonderful, Glenn Miller comps.

Your work in preserving and educating us about all these classic (and many unsung) musicians is as vital as it is entertaining.

All the BEST,


I'm excited to listen to this. I LOVE the Betty Hutton compilation. Thanks!