Kenny Baker (American performer)

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Kenny Baker
KennyBakerStageDoorCanteen.jpg
in the trailer for Stage Door Canteen (1943)
Born Kenneth Laurence Baker
(1912-09-30)September 30, 1912
Monrovia, California, U.S.
Died August 10, 1985(1985-08-10) (aged 72)
Solvang, California, U.S.
Cause of death Heart attack
Occupation Film, radio, stage actor and singer
Years active 1933-1951

Kenneth Laurence "Kenny" Baker (September 30, 1912 – August 10, 1985) was an American singer and actor who first gained notice as the featured singer on radio's The Jack Benny Program during the 1930s.

Film[edit]

At the height of his radio fame, and after leaving the Benny show in 1939 (succeeded by Dennis Day, whose tenor was similar to Baker's), he appeared in 17 film musicals, including Mr. Dodd Takes the Air (1937), At the Circus (1939), and The Harvey Girls (1946). He also starred in the 1939 movie version of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado. He later co-starred with Mary Martin in the original Broadway production of Kurt Weill and Ogden Nash's One Touch of Venus (1943).

Radio[edit]

After being on the Benny program 1935-1939, Baker returned to radio as a regular performer on Fred Allen's Texaco Star Theater program (1940–1942). He was also heard on Blue Ribbon Town (1943-1944) and Glamour Manor (1945-1947). He had his own programs, the Kenny Baker Show (1954)[1] and Sincerely--Kenny Baker (1946).[2] The latter was syndicated by the Frederick W. Ziv Company via electrical transcription.[3]

Later years[edit]

After retiring from performing in the early 1950s, Baker became a Christian Science practitioner and motivational speaker and recorded a number of record albums of hymns for his church.

Death[edit]

Baker died of a heart attack in Solvang, California, August 10, 1985, aged 72.

Partial filmography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ DeLong, Thomas A. (1996). Radio Stars: An Illustrated Biographical Dictionary of 953 Performers, 1920 through 1960. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-2834-2. Pp. 19-20.
  2. ^ "Kenny Baker and Donna Dae Star In WHP Musicale; Open Tuesday 6.15". Harrisburg Telegraph. April 6, 1946. p. 19. Retrieved April 24, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  3. ^ "Ziv ad" (PDF). Broadcasting. May 17, 1948. Retrieved 7 December 2014. 

External links[edit]

Audio files