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Eileen Barton

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Biography

Eileen Barton (November 24, 1924 – June 27, 2006) was an American singer best known for her apostrophic 1950 hit song, “If I Knew You Were Comin’ I’d’ve Baked a Cake.”

She was born in Brooklyn, New York. Her birthdate is often given as 1929, but a certified copy of her birth certificate shows that she was born in 1924. This was done commonly, to shave a few years from a performer’s age.

Eileen’s parents, Benny and Elsie Barton, were vaudeville performers. She first appeared in her parents’ act at age 2-1/2, singing “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” on a dare to her parents from columnist (and later radio star) Goodman Ace. At 3-1/2, she appeared at the Palace Theater, doing two shows a day as part of comedian Ted Healy’s routine (Ted Healy would go on to put together “The Three Stooges.”
She soon became a child star. By age 6, she appeared on “The Horn and Hardart Children’s Hour,” a radio program sponsored by Horn & Hardart’s “Automat,” a then-well-known restaurant chain, and by age 7 she was working with Milton Berle on his “Community Sing” radio program, using the name “Jolly Gillette” and playing the sponsor’s “daughter” (the sponsor was Gillette Razors). She would ask to sing, he would tell her she couldn’t, and she would remind him that her daddy was the sponsor, so he’d let her sing a current hit song.
At 8, she had a daily singing program of her own on radio station WMCA, “Arnold’s Dinner Club.” She also acted on radio series such as Death Valley Days.

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