Ginny Simms

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Ginny Simms
Ginny Simms.jpg
Simms, c. 1943
Background information
Birth name Virginia Ellen Simms
Also known as Virginia E. Eastvold
Born (1913-05-13)May 13, 1913
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
Died April 4, 1994(1994-04-04) (aged 80)
Palm Springs, California, U.S.
Occupation(s) Singer, film actress
Years active 1932-1951
Labels
  • Brunswick
  • Vocalion
  • Okeh
  • Columbia
  • Sonora
Associated acts Kay Kyser Orchestra
Website ginnysimms.com

Virginia Ellen "Ginny" Simms[1] (May 13, 1913[note 1] – April 4, 1994) was an American popular singer and film actress.

Simms sang with big bands and labeled with Dinah Shore, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Jo Stafford and others. She also worked as an MGM and Universal film actress and appeared in 11 movies from 1939 to 1951, when she retired.

Early life[edit]

Born in San Antonio, Texas, Simms attended Fresno State Teachers College, where she studied piano.[5] She originally considered studying to become a concert pianist but enrolled instead at Fresno State Teachers College. While there, she began performing in campus productions, singing with sorority sisters and even forming a popular campus vocal trio.[1] Shortly afterward, she struck out on her own to establish a solo singing career, and by 1932 she had her own program on a local radio station.[6]

Career[edit]

Radio[edit]

In 1932, she became band vocalist for the Tom Gerun band in San Francisco, working together with other vocalists, including a young Tony Martin and Woody Herman.[1] In 1934, she joined the Kay Kyser Orchestra, where she received her first national exposure, appearing on radio shows with Kyser.[1][6] She also made three movies with Kyser: That’s Right You’re Wrong (1939) with Lucille Ball, You'll Find Out (1940) with Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff, and Playmates (1941) with John Barrymore and Lupe Vélez. On April 6, 1941, Simms and Kyser also co-starred in Niagara to Reno (described as "an original comedy") on CBS radio's Silver Theater.[7] She nearly married Kyser but left his orchestra in September 1941 to do her own radio show.[6]

Cinema[edit]

She starred in several more movies, including Here We Go Again with Edgar Bergen, Charlie McCarthy, and Fibber McGee & Molly (1942), Hit the Ice with Abbott & Costello (1943), Broadway Rhythm as Helen Hoyt with George Murphy (1944), and Cole Porter’s Night and Day (1946) as Carole Hill with Cary Grant and Alexis Smith.[8]

Television[edit]

In 1951, Simms hosted a local television show on KTTV, channel 11, in Los Angeles which featured dance bands and talent from army, navy, marine, and air force bases around Southern California.

Humanitarian work[edit]

Like many stars, Simms was active in entertaining troops during World War II. After the war ended, she continued to help servicemen. In 1947, a radio station's newsletter noted: "[N]ow she is helping provide new homes for them. Ginny is sponsoring the construction of 450 homes for vets in Los Angeles."[9]

Awards[edit]

On June 5, 1993, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars was dedicated to her.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Simms was married three times, first (July 28, 1945 to March 1951) to Hyatt Hotels founder Hyatt von Dehn, with whom she had two sons: David (born in July 1946)[11] and Conrad (born December 27, 1949).[5] Her second marriage (June 27, 1951 to June, 1953) was to Bob Calhoun, and her third to former attorney general of the U.S. state of Washington Don Eastvold from June 22, 1962, until her death, by which time she had also become known as Virginia E. Eastvold.[12]

Death[edit]

She died as the result of a heart attack in Palm Springs on April 4, 1994,[5] aged 80, and is interred in Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City, California.[12] She was survived by her husband, Donald Eastvold Sr.[5]

Filmography[edit]

Year Film Role
1939 That's Right - You're Wrong Ginny Simms
1940 You'll Find Out Ginny Simms
1941 Playmates Ginny Simms
1942 Here We Go Again Jean Gildersleeve
1942 Seven Days' Leave Ginny
1943 Hit The Ice Marcia Manning
1944 G.I. Journal (Short) [13] Ginny Simms
1944 Broadway Rhythm Helen Hoyt
1945 Shady Lady Leonora Lee Appleby
1946 Night and Day Carole Hill
1951 Disc Jockey[14] Vickie Peters

Selected discography[edit]

Simms recorded extensively—from June 17, 1935 until July 2, 1947, then again in mid-1953 and finally in December 7 & 9, 1960—for several labels, including Brunswick, Sunbeam, Okeh, Vocalion, Columbia, V-Disc, ARA (American Recording Artists), Sonora[15] and TOPS.[16]

Some of these recordings have been re-released on the following CDs:[17]

  • Ginny Simms: Love Is Here To Stay (1997)
  • Ginny Simms: V-Disc Recordings CD (1998)
  • Gorgeous Ginny Simms (1999)
  • Night and Day (1999) (Soundtrack of the 1946 film Night and Day)
  • Ginny Simms: I'd Like To Set You To Music (2001)
  • Simple & Sweet: The Best Of Ginny Simms (2005)
  • Ginny Simms: One More Dream (2006)
  • On The Air With Ginny Simms (2011)
  • The Sentimental Stylings of Ginny Simms (2012)

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Other sources say May 25, 1911,[1][2] May 25, 1914,[3] or May 25, 1915.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Sleeve notes from Ginny Simms – I'd Like To Set You To Music, Jasmine JASCD 118, 2001.
  2. ^ Sleeve notes from One More Dream, Flare Records ROYCD 238, 2006.
  3. ^ Ginny Simms biography Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  4. ^ Sleeve notes from On The Air With Ginny Simms, Submarine Records DSOY 858, 2011.
  5. ^ a b c d Oliver, Myrna (April 6, 1994). "Ginny Simms; Singer, Radio Personality" (1994). Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 March 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c Sleeve notes from Simple & Sweet: The Best Of Ginny Simms, Collectables COL-CD-7590, 2005.
  7. ^ "3 Programs Join The Spring Dial; Several Programs Revised". The Lincoln Star. April 6, 1941. p. 40. Retrieved March 31, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication - free to read
  8. ^ Sleeve notes from Night and Day, Soundtrack Factory SFCD-33529, 1999.
  9. ^ Young, Kathryn (January 1947). "C.B.S. Notes" (PDF) (22). WIBW Roundup. p. 12. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  10. ^ Palm Springs Walk of Stars by date dedicated
  11. ^ "Ginny Simms Returns to WHP Sept. 20; Danny Thomas Is First Guest". Harrisburg Telegraph. September 14, 1946. p. 17. Retrieved April 22, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication - free to read
  12. ^ a b Palm Springs Cemetery District, "Interments of Interest"
  13. ^ G.I. Journal. Page at the IMDb (Internet Movie Database) website. Retrieved on 26 May 2016
  14. ^ Disc Jockey. Page at the IMDb (Internet Movie Database) website. Retrieved on 26 May 2016
  15. ^ Campbell, Robert L. (May 18, 2016). "The Sonora Label". myweb.clemson.edu. The Red Saunders Research Foundation. Retrieved May 26, 2016. The Sonora 3000 Pop Series: 1947 & The Sonora 1000 Series: Albums from 1947. 
  16. ^ "The career of Ginny Simms" discography Retrieved 26 May 2016.
  17. ^ Ginny Simms discography at cduniverse. Retrieved 26 May 2016.

External links[edit]