Paula Kelly (singer)

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Paula Kelly
The Modernaires 1951.JPG
Paula Kelly and the Modernaires when they were regulars on the CBS radio program Club 15, 1951.
Born (1919-04-06)April 6, 1919
Grove City, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died April 2, 1992(1992-04-02) (aged 72)
Costa Mesa, California, U.S.
Occupation Singer
Years active 1939-1978
Spouse(s) Hal Dickinson, 1939-1970 (his death, 3 children)
Richard Turner, 1976-1992 (her death)
Children 3 daughters, with Dickinson

Paula Kelly (April 6, 1919 – April 2, 1992) was an American big band singer.


Born in Grove City, Pennsylvania, in her early career, she sang with orchestras led by Dick Stabile, Artie Shaw, and Al Donahue. In early 1941 she joined Glenn Miller's orchestra, replacing Dorothy Claire and Marion Hutton.

Kelly originally performed solo, but also soon became the female lead of The Modernaires, originally a male trio, then a quartet, resulting in the group becoming a quintet of four male singers and herself.

In 1942, Glenn Miller went into World War II military service and his band broke up. The Modernaires continued with Kelly as lead singer until 1978, when she retired in favor of her daughter, who performed as Paula Kelly Jr. (died 26 April 2012). She had two other daughters, Martha (died 22 March 2006) and Juliann.

Personal life[edit]

She married Hal Dickinson, one of the original members of the Modernaires, on December 31, 1939, shortly after joining the group. They had three daughters and remained together until his death on November 18, 1970. In 1976, she married Richard L. Turner to whom she was married until her death in 1992, four days before her 73rd birthday.


  • Flower, John (1972). Moonlight Serenade: a bio-discography of the Glenn Miller Civilian Band. New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House. ISBN 0-87000-161-2.
  • Simon, George Thomas (1980). Glenn Miller and His Orchestra. New York: Da Capo paperback. ISBN 0-306-80129-9.
  • Schuller, Gunther (1991). The Swing Era, Volume 2: The Development of Jazz, 1930–1945. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-507140-9.

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