Buddy Clark

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Buddy Clark
Clark in a 1942 advertisement
Clark in a 1942 advertisement
Background information
Birth nameSamuel Goldberg
Born(1912-07-26)July 26, 1912
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
DiedOctober 1, 1949(1949-10-01) (aged 37)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
GenresTraditional pop
Years active1934–1949
WebsiteBuddy Clark biography on the Interlude Era site

Buddy Clark (born Samuel Goldberg, July 26, 1912 – October 1, 1949) was an American popular singer of the Big Band era. He had some success in the 1930s, but his career truly blossomed in the late 1940s, after his return from service in World War II, and he became one of the nation's top crooners. He died in a plane crash in 1949.

Life and career[edit]

Clark was born to Jewish parents in Dorchester, Massachusetts, Tillie (Leibowitz), from Romania, and Nathan Goldberg, from Russia.[1] He made his Big Band singing debut in 1932 as a tenor, with Gus Arnheim's orchestra, but was not successful. Singing baritone, he gained wider notice in 1934, with Benny Goodman on the Let's Dance radio program. In 1936 he began performing on the show Your Hit Parade, and remained until 1938. In the mid-1930s he signed with Vocalion Records, having a top-20 hit with "Spring Is Here". He continued recording, appearing in movies, and dubbing other actors' voices until he entered the military, but did not have another hit until the late 1940s.

In 1946 he signed with Columbia Records and scored his biggest hit with the song "Linda", recorded in November of that year, but hitting its peak in the following spring. "Linda" was written especially for the six-year-old daughter of a show business lawyer named Lee Eastman, whose client, songwriter Jack Lawrence, wrote the song at Lee's request.[2] Linda Eastman grew up and married Beatle Paul McCartney.

1947 also saw hits for Clark with such titles as "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?" (from the musical Finian's Rainbow), which made the Top Ten, "Peg O' My Heart", "An Apple Blossom Wedding", and "I'll Dance at Your Wedding".[3] The following year he had another major hit with "Love Somebody" (a duet with Doris Day, selling a million and reaching No. 1 on the charts) and nine more chart hits, and extended his success into 1949 with a number of hits, both solo and duetting with Day and Dinah Shore. He was also the narrator of the 1948 Disney musical anthology, Melody Time. A month after his death, his recording of "A Dreamer's Holiday" hit the charts.

Death and legacy[edit]

On Saturday, October 1, 1949, hours after the 37-year-old had completed a Club Fifteen broadcast on CBS Radio with The Andrews Sisters—subbing for ailing host Dick Haymes—Clark joined five friends in renting a small plane to attend a University of Michigan vs. Stanford University college football game in Stanford, California. On the way back to Los Angeles after the game, the plane ran out of fuel, lost altitude, and crashed on Beverly Boulevard in West Los Angeles. Clark did not survive the crash. Clark's last radio broadcast found him in very high spirits, clowning with Maxene, LaVerne, and Patty Andrews. He joined them for a comical rendition of "Baby Face," during which Buddy amused the CBS studio audience, as well as the famous swing trio of sisters, with his spot-on Al Jolson impression.[2]

The plane's pilot, James L. Hayter, later joined the U.S. Air Force and was involved in another accident in 1956.[4] He later retired as a Lt Colonel and died in 2012.[5]

Clark is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California, near his widow and daughter.[6]

Clark had previously been married to Louise Hitz, stepdaughter of famed hotelier Ralph Hitz in 1935. They had two children (Tommy and Katherine) together before divorcing in 1941.

Jerry Vale's first album, I Remember Buddy (1958), was a tribute to Clark.[7]

For his contributions to the music industry, he has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on 6800 Hollywood Boulevard.[8]

Hit songs[edit]


  1. ^ "An Exit for a Debut, Odd Writings and Other Works of Katherine Clark - Posts". Facebook. Retrieved 2021-02-06.
  2. ^ a b Salewicz, Chris, McCartney (Macdonald, 1986), p. 198; Lee, Laura, The Name's Families: Mr. Leotard, Barbie, and Chef Boyardee (Pelican Publishing Company, Inc., 1999), p. 293.
  3. ^ Gilliland, John. (197X). "Pop Chronicles 1940s Program #20 - All Tracks UNT Digital Library". Digital.library.unt.edu. Retrieved 2021-02-06.
  4. ^ "The Crash of the C-124 near Travis AFB, CA - 7 April 1956". Check-Six.com. Retrieved 31 January 2023.
  5. ^ "James Hayter Obituary". Legacy.com. Retrieved 31 January 2023.
  6. ^ "Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale) – Forest Lawn Glendale Museum". The Museum. 2015-08-21. Archived from the original on 2015-12-27. Retrieved 2015-12-27.
  7. ^ I Remember Buddy at AllMusic. Retrieved March 30, 2014.
  8. ^ "Buddy Clark". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2016-04-10.

Further reading[edit]

  • Bloom, Ken. American song. The Complete Musical Theater Companion. 1877–1995’’, Vol. 2, 2nd edition, Schirmer Books, 1996.
  • Clarke, Donald (Ed.). The Penguin Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Viking, 1989.
  • Cuscuna, Michael; Ruppi, Michel. The Blue Note Label. A Discography, Greenwood Press, 2001.
  • Larkin, Colin. The Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Third edition, Macmillan, 1998.

External links[edit]