Lucille Norman

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Lucille Norman
Lucille Norman, publicity photo @ 1950.jpg
Lucille Norman, @ 1950
Background information
Birth name Lucille Pharaby Boileau
Born (1921-06-15)June 15, 1921
Lincoln, Nebraska, USA
Died April 1, 1998(1998-04-01) (aged 76)
Glendale, California, USA
Genres Traditional pop music; show tunes, opera
Occupations Singer, actress, radio personality
Years active 1942-1962
Labels Capitol Records

Lucille Norman (June 15, 1921 – April 1, 1998) was an American mezzo soprano, radio personality, and stage and film actress active in the 1940s and 1950s.

Early life[edit]

Lucille Norman was born Lucille Pharaby Boileau in Lincoln, Nebraska into a performing family. Her father was her first vocal teacher. During high school she performed frequent singing roles at her school and on local radio. At the age of 14 she did a summer stint singing with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. Her musical experiences earned her a two year scholarship to the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. She appeared on a the Metropolitan Opera Auditions of the Air in December 7, 1941 singing an aria from Orfeo ed Euridice by Gluck.[1] Although the radio show was interrupted by a bulletin about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, her appearance was met with the offer of a screen test for the movies. Unsure about moving in this direction, she took some time to consider the offer, but decided to give it a try. Her MGM screen test in New York was successful and she headed West to Hollywood.

MGM films[edit]

Lucille Norman's first film roles were in 1942. First, an uncredited part in the film Personalities, which was a vehicle that MGM used to showcase their new stars. Then she and Gene Kelly both made their official screen debuts singing and dancing with Judy Garland in the MGM film For Me and My Gal.[2] Fate seemed to intervened in interrupting her Hollywood film career, and she next performed on the Broadway stage. Fred F. Finklehoffe, the film's co-writer was so impressed with her abilities that he offered her the leading role in his new vaudeville-type show called "Show Time," already a hit in Los Angeles. Norman replaced Kitty Carlisle in New York and found herself a featured artist performing songs and comedy with Jack Haley and George Jessel (342 performances Sept 16, 1942 through April 3, 1943).[3]

The war years[edit]

Norman spent much of the war years as a radio singer. She met her future husband, Bruce Kellogg (1910-1967), when they were both performing on a USO circuit. Although he had acted in about 15 films,[4] his full-time occupation was operating his 15,000-acre ranch near Cody, Wyoming. They were married in 1945, and he also became her agent and business manager. She and Kellogg had one child together, a daughter, Pamela, and remained married until his death.[5] Her husband's efforts played a critical role in getting her accepted in radio, because she was initially regarded as an opera singer.[6]

During WWII, the Kelloggs sent word to all of the government hospitals that they would give work on their Wyoming ranch to wounded warriors that needed the "rehabilitation that can be found in healthy, out-of-doors employment. Dozens of veterans took advantage of the offer and profited by it." The Kelloggs also extended the same offer to veterans of the Korean War.[7] After the war, Lucille Norman next appeared in film as a specialty singer in the 1946 film short, "Musical Masterpieces."

Radio[edit]

Lucille Norman & Gordon MacRae, "The Railroad Hour," 1950

Her most memorable roles as a singer came through her national radio appearances. Foremost were her appearances on The Railroad Hour, with show host Gordon MacRae. The Railroad Hour was a weekly half-hour anthology series featuring condensed versions of hit Broadway shows. One of his most frequent guest artists, Norman made 73 appearance (some as summer hostess while MacRae was on vacation) on the show between 1948 and 1954.[8] She also starred as mistress of ceremonies of her own half-hour CBS radio show on the West Coast, the "Hollywood Music Hall." On October 21, 1952 she celebrated the fourth anniversary of the show[9]

Although the literature is unclear about the number of episodes, Miss Norman's "Hollywood Music Hall" also debuted as a proposed television series in 1953, featuring the Victor Young Orchestra.[10] Lucille Norman was seen on various television shows originating in Southern California. She and her husband appeared under a one year contract for a television series in 1951.[6]

Concert stage[edit]

In 1949, Norman starred with John Raitt in The New Moon musical at the Greek Theatre (Los Angeles). She made five starring concert appearances at The Hollywood Bowl, including an annual Gershwin concert. Her appearance as soloist at the March 24, 1951 Easter Sunrise Service at the Bowl (with 2 choirs and the Werner Jenssen Symphony Orchestra) was attended by 20,000 people.[11] She also performed as soloist with John Boles at the Easter Concert at the Carmel Valley Bowl on April 4, 1954 for an audience of 15,000.[12] She performed in various supper clubs in Las Vegas and Colorado Springs.

Norman was also the lead singer and star of the Fiesta del Pacifico in 1957. The San Diego summer spectular featured a cast of 1300 persons in the Meredith Willson production of "The California Story."[13]

In 1956 she was named Top Vocalist of the Year by the Southern California Music Trade Association.[14]

Warner Bros. films[edit]

Norman returned to Hollywood acting and singing under contract with Warner Brothers Pictures in 1951 as Abby in Painting the Clouds with Sunshine & she played herself in Starlift. She also appeared in Sweethearts on Parade in 1953. Her most notable straight dramatic role was in 1952 starring opposite Randolph Scott in the film Carson City.

Her last acting appearance was in the television series The Colgate Comedy Hour, in which she appeared in a 1955 episode.[15] Lucille Norman co-starred with Italian tenor Aldo Monaco on the TV special Songs of Christmas in 1963. Carmen Dragon provided the musical direction conducting The Glendale Symphony Orchestra.[16]

Discography[edit]

Lucille Norman's discography is notable for a number of studio cast recordings of popular operettas that she made with Dennis Morgan, Gordon MacRae & other artists that have remained popular and all have been reissued as CDs.

VCR recordings[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lucille Norman on Radio
  2. ^ Lucille Norman on IMDb
  3. ^ "Show Time" on Broadway
  4. ^ Bruce Kellogg on IMDb.com
  5. ^ Koffend, John (August 1, 1954), Sunday World-Herald, Omaha, NE
  6. ^ a b "Nebraskan a New Star." (March 2, 1952), Omaha World-Herald Magazine, Omaha, NE
  7. ^ "Jimmy Fiedler in Hollywood." (December 14, 1951), The Boston Record, Boston, MA
  8. ^ The Railroad Hour Episode Log
  9. ^ "Channels and Dials," (October 21, 1952), The San Diego Union, San Diego, CA
  10. ^ "'Hall' Bows on KTLA from Para Stage." (December 12, 1953), Billboard (magazine), Los Angeles, CA
  11. ^ "Sunrise Rites Draw Millions Across Nation." (March 25, 1951), Eugene Register-Guard, Eugene, OR
  12. ^ Notice of Easter Concert, p. 15 (April 4, 1954), Santa Cruz Sentinel, Santa Cruz, CA
  13. ^ "Fiesta Parade, Pageant Set Today." (July 27, 1957), p.1., The San Diego Union, San Diego, CA
  14. ^ "Music Fair Books Top Vocalists." (January 22, 1956), San Diego Union, San Diego, CA
  15. ^ Lucille Norman on Fandango.com
  16. ^ "TV Week." (December 15, 1963), San Diego Union, San Diego, CA
  17. ^ Lucille Norman at CastAlbums.org

External links[edit]