Skinnay Ennis

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Skinnay Ennis
Skinnay Ennis.jpg
Ennis in a 1945 advertisement
Edgar Clyde Ennis Jr.

August 13, 1907
DiedJune 3, 1963 (aged 55)
Alma materUniversity of North Carolina
SpouseCarmene Calhoun (1939–1959, divorce)

Edgar Clyde "Skinnay" Ennis Jr. (August 13, 1907 – June 3, 1963)[1] was an American jazz and pop music bandleader and singer.

Early years[edit]

The son of Mr. and Mrs. E.C. Ennis, he was born Edgar Clyde Ennis Jr.[2] in Salisbury, North Carolina, United States,[3] and had a brother, James W. Ennis.[4] He met Hal Kemp while attending the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill. The two were members of Delta Sigma Phi fraternity there.[5]


An obituary reported about Ennis and his orchestra, "His band had performed in every major dance palace in the nation."[6]

Ennis joined Kemp's orchestra as a drummer and vocalist in the late 1920s, playing with him through 1938,[3] including one tour of Europe in 1930.

In 1938, Ennis put together his own band,[7] which became a popular ensemble in Hollywood films. "Got a Date With an Angel" was his theme song.[3] During this time Gil Evans was one of his arrangers.[3]

Toward the end of the 1950s Ennis's career had faded, and he worked mostly in hotels in the Los Angeles area.[3]


Ennis appeared in the film College Swing.[8] as well as in Blondie Meets The Boss in 1939.[9] His first film appearance was in the short film, Eddie Peabody and his College Chums (1929).


Ennis began performing comedy routines, and in 1938 he landed a job as bandleader on Bob Hope's radio program, appearing as a regular until he entered the Army.[3]

He returned to Hollywood bandleading at the war's end and joined the Abbott and Costello radio program during the 1946–47 season.[3]

Military service[edit]

Ennis joined the Army in 1943, serving as a "warrant officer in charge of a 28-piece band" during World War II.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Ennis was married to the former Carmene Calhoun for 20 years, and they had one son. The couple divorced in 1959.[11]

Ennis, whose nickname originally was "Skinny," changed it to "Skinnay", after it was misspelled that way on the label of a record early in his career.[6]


Two months before he would have turned 56, Ennis choked to death on a bone while eating dinner at a restaurant in Beverly Hills in 1963.[12]


  1. ^ "Skinnay Ennis". Retrieved August 26, 2021.
  2. ^ Sullivan, Ed (January 20, 1939). "Looking at Hollywood". Chicago Tribune. Illinois, Chicago. p. 19. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 795. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
  4. ^ "Skinnay Ennis' Brother Killed in Plane Crash". Chicago Tribune. Illinois, Chicago. September 24, 1944. p. Part 1-Page 23. Retrieved January 24, 2016.
  5. ^ "Skinnay Ennis Slated at Theater Opening". Texas, Odessa. The Odessa American. January 27, 1959. p. 10. Retrieved January 23, 2016 – via open access
  6. ^ a b "Attack Fatal for Band Leader Skinnay Ennis". The Times. Indiana, Hammond. June 3, 1963. p. 1. Retrieved January 23, 2016 – via open access
  7. ^ "Skinnay Ennis Dies". Illinois, Decatur. The Decatur Daily Review. June 3, 1963. p. 1. Retrieved January 23, 2016 – via open access
  8. ^ 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. P. 90.
  9. ^ "Blondie Meets the Boss (1939)". Retrieved August 26, 2021.
  10. ^ "Skinnay Ennis to Join Army Tuesday". The Times. California, San Mateo. May 19, 1943. p. 1. Retrieved January 23, 2016 – via open access
  11. ^ "Skinnay Ennis Dies, Autopsy Scheduled". Pennsylvania, Bristol. The Bristol Daily Courier. June 3, 1963. p. 24. Retrieved January 23, 2016 – via open access
  12. ^ "Bandleader Ennis Dies". The Times. California, San Mateo. June 3, 1963. p. 1. Retrieved January 23, 2016 – via open access

Other sources[edit]

  • Bob Conrad, Hal Kemp historian
  • Certificate of Birth, from the "Office of Register of Deeds", Salisbury, N.C.

External links[edit]