July 16, 1891
San Francisco, California
|Died||April 17, 1974 (aged 82)|
New York City, New York
|Occupation||Singer, actress, dancer|
|Spouse(s)||Joe Kane (1911–1913) |
Rube Marquard (1913–1920)
Benny Fields (1921–1959)
Blossom Seeley (July 16, 1891 – April 17, 1974) was an American singer, dancer, and actress.
Seeley was born on July 16, 1891, in San Francisco. By age 10, she was billed as "The Little Blossom" when she appeared at Sid Grauman's San Francisco, doing specialty acts.
A top vaudeville headliner, she was known as the "Queen of Syncopation" and helped bring jazz and ragtime into the mainstream of American music. She introduced the Shelton Brooks classic "Some of These Days" in vaudeville in 1910, before Sophie Tucker recorded it in 1911.
Seeley was a major recording star, with a series of solo records in the 1920s, and her biggest hits included, "Way Down Yonder in New Orleans", "Rose Room", Irving Berlin's "Lazy", "Yes Sir, That's My Baby", and her signature song, "Toddling the Todalo". She was featured in two 1933 films, Blood Money with Judith Anderson, and Broadway Through a Keyhole with Russ Columbo and Texas Guinan.
Seeley was one half of the vaudeville team of Blossom Seeley and Benny Fields. When they played the Palace Theatre in its Golden Era, they always had the number-one spot, even when sharing the bill with such stars as Jack Benny, George Burns and Gracie Allen, and George Jessel. Burns and Allen remained their closest lifelong friends. In 1927, they filmed one of the first Vitaphone sound shorts, Blossom Seeley and Benny Fields in which Blossom introduced the song "Hello, Bluebird", later repopularized by Judy Garland in the movie I Could Go On Singing.
The story of their marriage and career was made into the movie Somebody Loves Me (1952) with Betty Hutton and Ralph Meeker, which revived their careers and led to a string of TV appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. Seeley and Fields also recorded three LP records in the 1950s for the Decca, MGM, and Mercury labels. Seeley continued to perform as a solo after Fields' death in 1959, and was one of the legends who starred on the 1961 CBS special Chicago and All That Jazz. She also sang on the accompanying Verve album, which was her first in stereo. She made two appearances on The Garry Moore Show and sang her version of the Frank Sinatra hit "My Kind of Town" on a 1966 Ed Sullivan Show. Her last TV appearance was with Mike Douglas, which he taped at the nursing home where she was living.
Blossom Seeley was married three times: to Joe Kane; to Baseball Hall of Famer Rube Marquard of the New York Giants (a book by Noel Hynd detailing their relationship, Marquard and Seeley, was published in 1996) and to Fields. She had one child by her second marriage, Richard Marquard Jr.
On April 17, 1974, Seeley died at the DeWitt Nursing Home in New York City, aged 82.
- "Blossom Seeley" Archived February 12, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. gabrielleray.150m.com. Retrieved 2010-10-23.
- "Blossom Seeley, Vaudevillian, Is Dead". The New York Times. April 18, 1974. p. 44. Retrieved January 4, 2022.
- "Rube Marquard" Archived 2010-07-14 at the Wayback Machine, bioproj.sabr.org; retrieved 2010-10-23.
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