Ina Ray Hutton
|Ina Ray Hutton|
March 13, 1916
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
February 19, 1984 (aged 67)|
Odessa Cowan, better known by her stage name Ina Ray Hutton (March 13, 1916 – February 19, 1984), was an American vocalist, bandleader, and the sister of June Hutton.
Ina Ray Hutton (March 13, 1916 – February 19, 1984) was born Odessa Cowan in Chicago, Illinois to parents Marvel Svea Williams and Odie Daniel Cowan. She began dancing and singing in stage revues at the age of eight under the guidance of her then tap and stage dance instructor, Hazel Thompson-Davis. Cowan's mother Marvel Ray was a local pianist and entertainer in Chicago. It is currently disputed whether or not Hutton had African American heritage, as certain census data listed her as "mulatto" and "Negro".
By the age of 13, Odessa was considered so advanced that she skipped eighth grade and went straight to high school at Hyde Park High School. By the time she was 18 years old, Odessa (Ina Ray) was a seasoned performer. She had starred in Gus Edwards' revue "Future Stars Troupe" at the Palace Theater and Lew Leslie's "Clowns in Clover," and on Broadway she performed in George White's revues: "Melody", "Never Had An Education," and "Scandals", and then on to the Ziegfeld Follies, all by the time she was 18.
In 1934, she was approached by Irving Mills and vaudeville agent Alex Hyde to lead an all-girl orchestra, the Melodears, which featured musicians including trumpet player Frances Klein, Canadian pianist Ruth Lowe Sandler, saxophonist Jane Cullum, guitarist Marian Gange, trumpeter Mardell "Owen" Winstead and trombonist Alyse Wells during its existence. Hutton and her Melodears were one of the first all-girl bands to be filmed for Paramount shorts, including Accent on Girls and Swing Hutton Swing and Hollywood feature films under the management of national booking agent Irving Mills. The group disbanded in 1939. In 1940 she led an all-male orchestra that was featured in the film Ever Since Venus (1944); it was disbanded in 1949. During the 1950s, she returned to the all-girl format for a variety television program, The Ina Ray Hutton Show, which ran from 1951 to 1956 on Paramount Television Network's flagship station KTLA in Los Angeles.
She married and divorced:
- Edwin Jessup
- Charles Doerwald 
- Lou Parisotto 
- Randy Brooks 
- Michael Anter 
- John "Jack" Franklin Curtis (13 March 1963 - 28 December 1979) HIS DEATH 
She retired from music in 1968 and died on 19 February 1984 of complications from diabetes, aged 67.
- Commonwealth of, Virginia (29 July 1939). "Certificate of Marriage". Fauquier County.
- Crittenden, Arkansas (27 October 1943). "County Marriages".
- Newspaper, Archive (27 June 1957). "Nevada State Journal: Reno".
- Newspaper, Archive (14 December 1960). "Reno Evening Gazette".
- Newspaper, Archive. "Omaha World Herald" (27 March 1963).
- "Secrets of a Blond Bombshell". Studio 360. Retrieved October 3, 2011.