Ina Ray Hutton
Hutton was born as Odessa Cowan in Chicago, Illinois. She and her parents were identified as "negro" or "mulatto" by census takers. She began dancing and singing in stage revues at the age of eight. Cowan's mother Marvel Ray was a local pianist and entertainer in Chicago. She attended Hyde Park High School on the South Side of Chicago. In the 1930s she appeared on Broadway in George White's Scandals and The Ziegfeld Follies.
In 1934 she was asked by vaudeville agent Alex Hyde to lead an all-girl orchestra, the Melodears, which featured musicians including trumpet player Frances Klein, pianist Ruth Lowe Sandler, saxophonist Jane Cullum, guitarist Marian Gange, trumpeter Mardell "Owen" Winstead and trombonist Alyse Wells during its existence. Hutton and her Melodears were one of the first all-girl bands to be filmed for Paramount shorts including Accent on Girls and Swing Hutton Swing and Hollywood feature films under the management of national booking agent Irving Mills.  The group disbanded in 1939. In 1940 she led an all-male orchestra that was featured in the film Even Since Venus (1944); it was disbanded in 1946. During the 1950s, she returned to the all-girl format for variety television programs including the Ina Ray Hutton Show for a local station on the West Coast. She married and divorced Lou Parris, Randy Brooks and Michael Anter. Her fourth husband, Jack Curtis, preceded her in death.
She retired from music in 1968 and died in 1984 of complications from diabetes, aged 67.
- Ina Ray Hutton at the Internet Movie Database
- "Ina Ray Hutton". Find a Grave. Retrieved 2013-12-11.
- "Solid! Ina Ray Hutton". Retrieved 2011 October 02.
- "Secrets of a Blond Bombshell". Studio 360. Retrieved 2011 October 03.