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Paula Kelly

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b. 13 October 1919, USA, d. 2 April 1992, Costa Mesa, California, USA. An excellent band and ensemble singer with a vivacious personality, Kelly began her career in 1937 with top saxophonist Dick Stabile’s band, and then spent two years with Al Donahue. She joined Glenn Miller in 1941 as a featured singer with the Modernaires vocal group; her husband, Hal Dickinson, was founder-leader. Early in 1941 Kelly appeared in the first Glenn Miller movie, Sun Valley Serenade, in which the Modernaires sang classics such as ‘Chattanooga Choo Choo’ and ‘I Know Why’. Later in the year she left Miller when former vocalist Marion Hutton rejoined the band. For a while Kelly sang with Artie Shaw, and then for Bob Allen’s band. In the mid-40s she rejoined the Modernaires when the group expanded to five. In the 50s they appeared in clubs and theatres, toured with Bob Crosby, and sang on his radio and television shows. They also featured with Crosby, Frankie Laine and Billy Daniels in the movie When You’re Smiling (1950), and in The Glenn Miller Story (1954). After Dickinson died on 18 November 1970, Kelly and the Modernaires worked with ex-Miller sideman Tex Beneke’s band and Miller’s original boy vocalist, Ray Eberle, riding on the nostalgia boom of the 70s.

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