Ramona (vocalist)

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Ramona Davies (March 11, 1909 − December 14, 1972), usually billed as Ramona and her Grand Piano, was a cabaret singer and pianist, most popular in the 1930s.

Born Estrild Raymona Myers on March 11, 1909 in Lockland, Ohio to teenaged parents, 17-year-old Raymond P. Myers and his bride, Rachel (née DeCamp), who was 15 years old. Raymond Myers' parents had the marriage annulled, unaware that Rachel was carrying Raymond's child. Rachael and infant Ramona moved across the border to Ashland, Kentucky, where Rachel met her future husband, Charles C. Payne.[1]

Ramona became a vocalist and pianist for Paul Whiteman's Orchestra from 1932−37. She played mildly jazz-influenced piano and sang songs in a deep-voiced, sophisticated style. She was sometimes featured by Whiteman with a small jazz group within the band, as well as recording sides as a soloist and duets with Roy Bargy.

Prior to joining Whiteman, she had her own radio show in Cincinnati and also worked with Don Bestor. She performed on Whiteman's radio show in 1933, Al Jolson's radio show in 1933−34 and the Kraft Music Hall in late 1934 through early 1935 (before Bing Crosby took over the radio program in 1936). She was featured with the Whiteman band in the 20th Century-Fox 1935 film Thanks A Million. She left Whiteman's band in 1937 and worked as a single (recording for Liberty Music Shops specialty label). In the late 1930s, she led a male big band (recording for Varsity Records).[1]

Personal life[edit]

She was married three times. Her first two marriages, to Kenneth Hopkins and Howard Davies (by whose surname she was known professionally) ended in divorce, but her third marriage, to Al Helfer (on June 14, 1944) lasted until her death in 1972, and produced her only child, a daughter, Ramona Helfer.[1]

Death[edit]

Ramona Davies died on December 14, 1972, of ovarian cancer, aged 63.[where?]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Profile, imdb.com; accessed February 4, 2015.