b. 16 November 1914, Bainbridge Island, Seattle, Washington, USA, d. 3 July 2006, Westlake Village, California, USA. An actor and singer with a smooth tenor voice, Smith had a big break in 1933 when he joined the Three Ambassadors vocal group with Gus Arnheim’s Band, which was resident at the Coconut Grove, in the Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles. Earlier, the Rhythm Boys, featuring Bing Crosby, had sung with the band there. When Phil Harris replaced Arnheim with his own extremely entertaining band, the Ambassadors stayed on, and later toured with him. During the late 30s the trio appeared regularly on Kate Smith’s radio programme in New York, until they disbanded in 1939. Now being introduced as the ‘the man with a smile in his voice’, Smith stayed in New York and sang in vocal groups on radio, including Your Hit Parade. In the early 40s he was a soloist on several radio shows, with band leader Raymond Scott and the Prudential Show. He then had his own radio programme until the early 50s. From 1947-49 he had several record hits for Capitol Records, including ‘Jack! Jack! Jack!’, ‘Civilization (Bongo, Bongo, Bongo)’, ‘Big Brass Band From Brazil’, ‘Shaunty O’Shea’, ‘Baby Face’, ‘Takin’ Miss Mary To The Ball’, ‘Tea Leaves’, ‘You Call Everybody Darling’, ‘Cuanto La Gusta’, ‘Lavender Blue (Dilly Dilly)’, ‘Cruising Down The River’ and ‘Sunflower’. On most of these he was accompanied by the Clark Sisters, a classy vocal quartet, who formerly sang under the name of the Sentimentalists with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. Smith also appeared in two movie musicals, Make Believe Ballroom (1949); and On Moonlight Bay (1951), in which he duetted ‘Love Ya’, with Doris Day. In the 50s, he sang on US television, but eventually concentrated more and more on acting.
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