Betty Gale Robbins|
or Betty Gale Murphy
May 7, 1921
Chicago, Illinois, U.S. (or Mitchell, Indiana))
February 18, 1980 (aged 58)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Lung cancer|
|Spouse(s)||Robert Olson (1943-68; his death) 2 daughters|
Vicki (b. 1951)|
Cynthia (b. 1956)
Born in Chicago, Illinois, although one source claims she was born in Mitchell, Indiana and her family moved to Chicago "when she was very young"; she graduated from Lucy Flower High School in June 1939.
Robbins "attended the Vera Jones Modeling School and posed for many magazine covers and ads." A 1941 newspaper article described her as "the famous model whose face has appeared on the covers of many leading magazines, and whose eyes and teeth are the trademarks respectively of Murine and Iodent."
In 1939, Robbins was a singer in the stage show at the Hotel Sherman's College Inn in Chicago, Illinois. She apparently changed her stage name at that time. An article in the August 6, 1939, issue of the Chicago Tribune reported: "Betty Robbins, Chicago singer who joined ths show recently, holds over for the new program, under the name Gale Robbins. Gale is her middle name."
Robbins sang with the Phil Levant band in 1940, and in 1941, she sang with Jan Garber. Also in 1941, she recorded Jim (one side of RCA Victor 27580) with Art Jarrett. Beginning in June 1942, Robbins sang on The Ben Bernie War Workers' Program, which was broadcast three nights a week on CBS radio. (Walter Winchell wrote in his syndicated newspaper column that Robbins was "the best part of Ben Bernie's act.") On August 14, 1942, she was a featured vocalist on a revue headlined by Fred Brady and broadcast over WABC. Also in 1942, she was one of four female singers on the staff at WBBM radio in Chicago, Illinois. In 1945, she sang on Ice Box Follies on ABC, and during the 1945-1946 season, she was a vocalist on The Hoagy Carmichael Show on NBC.
In 1949, Robbins sang as part of Dennis Day's Vaudeville show in Boston, prompting a reviewer for the trade publication Billboard to write: "The acts include Gale Robbins, as fine a vocalist as the town has seen in ages. She's pretty, has a real voice and a personality which never flags." That same year, she was the female lead in the musical revue A La Carte at the El Capitan Theaer in Hollywood, California. A reviewer wrote in Billboard, "Song-wise, Gale Robbins and Bill Shirley are admirably suited to their lead parts, scoring vocally and in stage presence."
In September 1957, Robbins signed with Vik Records and made her first recordings for that label.
Robbins signed a contract with 20th Century Fox late in 1942. She made her film debut in In the Meantime, Darling in 1944. She appeared in several films, such as Calamity Jane and My Dear Secretary, and briefly sang parts of two songs in The Barkleys of Broadway, playing Shirlene May, the potential understudy to Ginger Rogers' character. Robbins sang another song, "All Alone Monday," in another Fred Astaire vehicle, Three Little Words (1950).
Robbins entertained at many military bases with a troupe led by Bob Hope. She later focused on TV, including being a regular on Pantomime Quiz on KTTV in Los Angeles, California, in 1949. She was hostess of Hollywood House from 1949 to 1950. She released the album I'm a Dreamer, backed by Eddie Cano and his orchestra, in 1958. She made three guest appearances on The Bob Cummings Show between 1955-1958. Gale appeared on The Untouchables, in the episode "The Antidote." She also had roles in such popular series as Gunsmoke, Perry Mason, 77 Sunset Strip and Mister Ed.
In 1955, Robbins signed a contract with Screen Gems for "a number of Damon Runyon Theater segments." Billboard reported that it was "the first time that the Columbia subsidiary has put a performer under contract for more than a single pic."
Robbins married her high school sweetheart, Robert Olson, November 8, 1943, when he was in the Air Force. The couple remained married until Olson's death in 1968, and had two daughters, Victoria and Cynthia.
Robbins died of lung cancer February 18, 1980, in Tarzana, California, at the age of 58. Survivors were her mother and her daughters. She was buried at the Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles.
- In the Meantime, Darling (1944)
- Mr. Hex (1946)
- Race Street (1948)
- My Dear Secretary (1948)
- The Barkleys of Broadway (1949)
- Oh, You Beautiful Doll (1949)
- Three Little Words (1950)
- The Fuller Brush Girl (1950)
- Between Midnight and Dawn (1950)
- Strictly Dishonorable (1951)
- The Belle of New York (1952)
- The Brigand (1953)
- Calamity Jane (1953)
- Double Jeopardy (1955)
- The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing (1958)
- Wagner, Laura (Fall 2015). "Gale Robbins: "A Looker with a Voice to Match"". Films of the Golden Age (82): 49–51.
- "California Death Records". The California Department of Health Services Office of Health Information and Research vital Statistics Section, as held on Rootsweb.com. Retrieved 27 December 2008.
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- Leonard, Will (March 3, 1957). "Edith Piaf One Womanest Show Ever Staged". Chicago Sunday Tribune. p. Part 7 - Page 10. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
- "Phil Levant at Galeton". Pennsylvania, Wellsboro. The Wellsboro Gazette. February 12, 1941. p. 8. Retrieved November 5, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Scat Dance to Make Bow at the Blackhawk". Chicago Tribune. August 6, 1939. p. Part 7 - Page 2. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
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- Terrace, Vincent (1999). Radio Programs, 1924-1984: A Catalog of More Than 1800 Shows. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-4513-4. P. 162.
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- Kleiner, Dick (October 28, 2000). "Ask Dick Kleiner". Pennsylvania, Indiana. The Indiana Gazette. p. 25. Retrieved November 5, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "KTTV's 'Pantomime' To N.Y. Chevy Dealers" (PDF). Billboard. June 25, 1949. p. 10. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
- "Gale Robbins Set by SG to Multiple Deal" (PDF). Billboard. April 30, 1955. p. 8. Retrieved 7 November 2015.[permanent dead link]
- "Gale Robbins". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
- "Marriages" (PDF). Billboard. December 4, 1943. p. 30. Retrieved 7 November 2015.[permanent dead link]
- "Deaths" (PDF). Billboard. March 1, 1980. p. 68. Retrieved 7 November 2015.[permanent dead link]
- "Gale Robbins, Actress, Singer and Pin-Up Girl". The New York Times. 1980-02-22. pp. D15. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
- "Deaths" (PDF). Billboard. March 1, 1980. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
- "Reviews of New Pop Records" (PDF). Billboard. October 27, 1956. p. 57. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
- "(Vik Records advertisement)" (PDF). Billboard. April 28, 1958. p. 27. Retrieved 12 December 2015.