Wayne King (February 16, 1901 – July 16, 1985) was an American musician, songwriter, singer and orchestra leader with a long association with both NBC And CBS. He was sometimes referred to as the Waltz King because much of his most popular music involved waltzes; "The Waltz You Saved For Me" was his standard set closing song in live performance and on numerous radio broadcasts at the height of his career.
Life and career
Born Harold Wayne King in Savanna, Illinois, King was an impressive athlete in high school, and briefly played professional football with the Canton Bulldogs. He also attended Valparaiso University in Indiana for two years, but left to begin a career in music.
After playing saxophone for the Paul Whiteman Orchestra, he created "Wayne King and Orchestra" in 1927. King's innovations included converting Carrie Jacobs-Bond's "I Love You Truly" from its original 2/4 time over to 3/4.
The orchestra disbanded during World War II, and King joined the army, advancing to the rank of major. The orchestra was reestablished in 1946. In 1948, the half-hour Wayne King Show was syndicated on radio via transcription discs. King's orchestra had a television show in Chicago from 1949 to 1952.
In early 1958 he appeared as a guest challenger on the TV panel show To Tell The Truth. He released a Christmas album on Decca Records, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, in 1963. King's orchestra played its last engagement in March 1983 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in Sarasota, Florida. Wayne was honored in his hometown of Savanna, with a sign acknowledging that he was a resident of the town. In later life he operated a black angus cattle farm and a car rental business.
King died in July 1985 and his body was cremated. His wife, silent film actress, Dorothy Jones King (stage name Janis) kept his urn with her for the rest of her life following their 53 years of marriage. She died on March 10, 2010 at the age of 98. When she was laid to rest in the All Saints Episcopal Church Cemetery in Phoenix, Arizona his urn was placed into her casket by request when she was interred in March 2010.
King had two children, Wayne King II and Penelope King Pape. Six grandchildren and five great grandchildren. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the Radio category.
- "Goodnight, Sweetheart" (1931)
- "Dream a Little Dream of Me" (1931) a #1 hit
- "Maria Elena" (1941) a #2 hit
- "All Alone" (1946)
- "Dancing With Tears in My Eyes" (orchestral, 1952)
Wayne King wrote a song called, "Corn Silk".
- Morath, Max (2008). I Love You Truly: A Biographical Novel Based on the Life of Carrie Jacobs-Bond. New York: iUniverse. ISBN 978-0-595-53017-5., p. 19.
- ”On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old Time Radio”, (John Dunning)
- "Ziv ad" (PDF). Broadcasting. May 17, 1948. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
- Dorothy Janis on IMDb
- AltFilmGuide entry
- Stevens Orchestra Project website
- Songwriters Hall of Fame
- Big Band Library: WAYNE KING "Melody of Love"
- US Billboard Charts placement
- Early RCA publicity photo of Wayne King and his band Enter "Wayne King" in "Find" function of browser; link to photo is near beginning of bio.
- Listen Wayne King, his life and music on Big Band Serenade #199, 49 minutes. Scroll down to show 199; direct download available.
- Wayne King at Find a Grave