Margaret Whiting

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Margaret Whiting
Margaret Whiting New York between 1946 and 1948 (LOC).jpg
Margaret Whiting in New York, 1940s
Background information
Birth name Margaret Eleanor Whiting
Born (1924-07-22)July 22, 1924
Detroit, Michigan, United States
Died January 10, 2011(2011-01-10) (aged 86)
Englewood, New Jersey, United States
Genres Jazz, traditional pop, country
Occupation(s) Singer
Years active 1942–2010
Labels Capitol, Dot, Verve, London, Audiophile, DRG
Website Musical biography of Margaret Whiting

Margaret Eleanor Whiting (July 22, 1924 – January 10, 2011) was a singer of American popular music and country music who first made her reputation during the 1940s and 1950s.



Margaret Whiting was born in Detroit, but her family moved to Los Angeles in 1929, when she was five years old. Her father, Richard, was a composer of popular songs, including the classics "Hooray for Hollywood", "Ain't We Got Fun?", and "On the Good Ship Lollipop". Her sister, Barbara Whiting, was an actress (Junior Miss, Beware, My Lovely) and singer.

An aunt, Margaret Young, was a singer and popular recording artist in the 1920s. In her childhood, Whiting's singing ability had already been noticed, and at the age of only seven she sang for singer-lyricist Johnny Mercer, with whom her father had collaborated on some popular songs ("Too Marvelous for Words"). In 1942, Mercer co-founded Capitol Records and signed Margaret to one of Capitol's first recording contracts.[1]

Recording career[edit]

Whiting's first recordings were as featured singer with various orchestras:

In 1945, Whiting began to record under her own name, making such recordings as:

  • "All Through the Day" (1945, becoming a bestseller in the spring of 1946)
  • "In Love in Vain" (1945)
(these two from the movie "Centennial Summer")

Until the mid-1950s Whiting continued to record for Capitol, but as she ceased to record songs that charted as hits, she switched to Dot Records in 1957 and to Verve Records in 1960. Whiting returned to Capitol in the early 1960s and then signed with London Records in 1966. On London, Whiting landed one last major hit single in 1966, "The Wheel of Hurt", which hit #1 on the Easy Listening singles chart. Her final solo albums were made for Audiophile (1980, 1982, 1985) and DRG Records (1991). Her distinguished conductors and musical arrangers through the years included Buddy Bregman, Frank DeVol, Russell Garcia, Johnny Mandel, Billy May, Marty Paich, Nelson Riddle, Pete Rugolo, and Paul Weston.

Radio career[edit]

Whiting co-starred on the 15-minute musical programs The Jack Smith Show[3] and Club Fifteen.[4] She also was a vocalist on The Eddie Cantor Show and was in the cast of The Philip Morris Follies of 1946 and The Railroad Hour.[4] Additionally, she was hostess on the Spotlight Revue[5] and a featured singer on the transcribed Barry Wood Show.[6] She also appeared in the part of a young Sophie Tucker, in the Lux Radio Theater production "No Time For Heartaches".

Television career[edit]

Margaret and Barbara Whiting starred as themselves in the situation comedy Those Whiting Girls. The show, produced by Desilu Productions, aired on CBS as a summer replacement series (in place of I Love Lucy) between July, 1955 and September, 1957.[7]

Margaret Whiting was a regular guest on variety shows and talk shows throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, including Faye Emerson's Wonderful Town, when the musical series focused on Whiting's hometown of Detroit; The Big Record, The Bob Hope Show, The Colgate Comedy Hour, The Tony Martin Show, The David Frost Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, The George Jessel Show, The Guy Mitchell Show, The Jonathan Winters Show, The Merv Griffin Show, The Mike Douglas Show, The Nat King Cole Show, Over Easy, The Pat Boone Chevy Showroom, The Patti Page Show, The Red Skelton Hour, The Steve Allen Show, The Ford Show Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford, The Texaco Star Theater, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The Virginia Graham Show, and The Voice of Firestone.

In 1960, Whiting appeared as Vinnie Berkeley in one of the last episodes, "Martial Law", of the ABC/Warner Brothers western series, Colt .45. Paul Picerni was cast in the same segment as Duke Blaine.

In 1984, Whiting appeared in the television musical movie Taking My Turn. It was basically a filmed version of the 1983 off-Broadway show in which she appeared. This ensemble show also included Marni Nixon, Tiger Haynes, and Cissy Houston among others. The music was composed by Gary William Friedman with lyrics by Will Holt. The revue was centered on issues regarding aging. The stage production opened at New York City's Entermedia Theatre on June 9, 1983. It went on to win the 1984 Outer Critic's Circle Award for Best Lyrics/Music and was nominated for the 1984 Drama Desk Award for Best Musical (losing to Stehpen Sondheim's Sunday In the Park With George). A cast recording of the stage production was released and subsequently re-released on CD.

In the 2000s, Whiting was cast in several documentaries about singers and songwriters of her era, including Judy Garland: By Myself (2004), Fever: The Music of Peggy Lee (2004), Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer (2007), Johnny Mercer: The Dream's on Me (2009), The Andrews Sisters: Queens ofa the Music Machines (2009) and Michael Feinstein's American Songbook (2010).

Cabaret Master Teacher[edit]

From 1989 through 2001, Whiting was the Artistic Director of the annual Cabaret and Performance Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford Connecticut. With other performers such as Julie Wilson and Anne Francine as well as musical directors like Tex Arnold, she spent 10 days instructing selected professionals and amateurs in the cabaret performance process.


  • Hubbell Robinson Jr., a writer, producer, and television executive (December 29, 1948 – divorced August 18, 1949)[8]
  • Lou Busch, a ragtime pianist known as "Joe 'Fingers' Carr" (divorced; one daughter, Deborah, born 1950)
  • John Richard Moore, a founder of Panavision (married 1958 – divorced)
  • Jack Wrangler (John Stillman), 1970s and 1980s gay pornography film actor; married when Whiting was 70 and he was 48 (1994 – April 7, 2009; his death from emphysema)


Whiting died on January 10, 2011, aged 86, from natural causes at the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, New Jersey.[9]



Year Album US Pop LPs Label
1949 South Pacific (with Peggy Lee & Gordon MacRae) 4 Capitol
1950 Margaret Whiting Sings Rodgers and Hart
1954 Love Songs by Margaret Whiting
1956 Margaret Whiting Sings for the Starry-Eyed
1957 Goin' Places Dot
1958 Margaret
1959 Margaret Whiting's Great Hits
Ten Top Hits
1960 Just a Dream
Margaret Whiting Sings the Jerome Kern Songbook Verve
Broadway, Right Now! (with Mel Tormé)
1961 Past Midnight MGM
1967 The Wheel of Hurt 109 London
Maggie Isn't Margaret Anymore
1968 Pop Country
1980 Too Marvelous for Words Audiophile
1982 Come a Little Closer
1985 The Lady's in Love with You
1991 Then and Now DRG


Year Single Contributing Artist Chart Positions
Pop Country AC
1942 "That Old Black Magic" Freddie Slack & His Orchestra 10
1943 "My Ideal" Billy Butterfield & His Orchestra 12
1944 "Silver Wings In the Moonlight" Freddie Slack & His Orchestra 19
1945 "Moonlight In Vermont" Billy Butterfield & His Orchestra 15
"It Might as Well Be Spring" Paul Weston & His Orchestra 6
1946 "All Through the Day" Carl Kress orchestra 11
"In Love In Vain" 12
"Come Rain or Come Shine" Paul Weston orchestra 17
"Along With Me" Jerry Gray orchestra 13
"Passe" 12
"Guilty" 4
"Oh, But I Do" 7
1947 "Beware My Heart" Frank DeVol orchestra 21
"Old Devil Moon" 11
"Ask Anyone Who Knows" 21
"Little Girl Blue" 25
"You Do" 5
"Lazy Countryside" 21
"So Far" 14
"Pass That Peace Pipe" 8
1948 "Let's Be Sweethearts Again" 22
"But Beautiful" 21
"Now is the Hour" 2
"What's Good About Goodbye" 29
"Please Don't Kiss Me" 23
"A Tree in the Meadow" 1
"Far Away Places" 2
1949 "Forever and Ever" 5
"A Wonderful Guy" 12
"Baby, It's Cold Outside" Johnny Mercer 3
"Slippin' Around" Jimmy Wakely 1 1
"Wedding Bells" 30 6
"Dime a Dozen" Frank DeVol orchestra 19
"I'll Never Slip Around Again" Jimmy Wakely 8 2
1950 "Broken Down Merry Go Round" 12 2
"The Gods Were Angry With Me" 17 3
"I Said My Pajamas (and Put on My Prayers)" Frank De Vol 21
"Let's Go to Church (Next Sunday Morning)" Jimmy Wakely 13 2
"My Foolish Heart" Frank DeVol orchestra 17
"Blind Date" Bob Hope 16
"A Bushel and a Peck" Jimmy Wakely 6 6
1951 "When You and I Were Young, Maggie, Blues" 20 7
"Good Morning, Mr. Echo" Lou Busch orchestra 14
"I Don't Want to Be Free" Jimmy Wakely 5
1952 "I'll Walk Alone" Lou Busch orchestra 29
"Outside of Heaven" 22
1953 "Why Don't You Believe Me?" 29
1954 "Moonlight In Vermont" new version 29
1956 "The Money Tree" Billy May orchestra 20
1958 "I Can't Help It (If I'm Still in Love With You)" Billy Vaughn orchestra 74
1966 "Somewhere There's Love" 29
"The Wheel of Hurt" Arnold Goland orchestra 26 1
1967 "Just Like a Man" 132 29
"Only Love Can Break a Heart" Arnold Goland orchestra 96 4
"I Almost Called Your Name" 108 4
1968 "I Hate to See Me Go" 127 27
"It Keeps Right On A-Hurtin'" 115 28
"Faithfully" 117 19
"Can't Get You Out of My Mind" 124 11
1969 "Where Was I" 24
1970 "(Z Theme) Life Goes On" 14
"Until It's Time for You to Go" 32


  1. ^ Vera, Billy (2000). From the Vaults Vol. 1: The Birth of a Label – the First Years (CD). Hollywood: Capitol Records. p. 7. 
  2. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 32. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  3. ^ "photo caption". St. Petersburg Times. August 28, 1949. Retrieved 23 August 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Dunning, John. (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3.
  5. ^ Terrace, Vincent (1981), Radio's Golden Years: The Encyclopedia of Radio Programs 1930–1960. A.S. Barnes & Company, Inc. ISBN 0-498-02393-1. P. 248.
  6. ^ Alicoate, Jack, Ed. (1946). The 1946 Radio Annual. Radio Daily Corp. P. 662.
  7. ^ "Those Whiting Girls" (PDF). Broadcasting. July 11, 1955. Retrieved 2 September 2014. 
  8. ^ "The Museum of Broadcast Communications – Encyclopedia of Television". Retrieved 2015-08-27. 
  9. ^ "Margaret Whiting, Fresh-Faced Singer of Jazz and Pop Standards, Dies at 86". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-08-28. 


  • Margaret Whiting at the Internet Movie Database
  • Pop ranking from Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890–1954, published in 1986 by Record Research Inc., Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.
  • Contributing artists from booklet with the "My Ideal" four CD set by Jasmine Records in 2007; confirmed by Time-Life Music tape set "Late 40's" released in 1991, and by Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890–1954. Some Internet sources give Tex Beneke's orchestra as accompanying Whiting's hit, "A Wonderful Guy", but Beneke claimed Claire Chatwin was the singer on his version: see his album, "Here's To The Ladies Who Sang With The Band" – the latter can also be found here