b. Martha Janet Lafferty, 23 April 1921, Altoona, Pennsylvania, USA, d. 19 February 2007, Santa Monica, California, USA. A band singer who went on to become a popular film actress, Blair replaced Nan Wynn in the famous Hal Kemp Band in the late 30s, and remained there until Kemp died in an automobile accident in December 1940. After singing on the Kemp record hits ‘So You’re The One’ and ‘Walkin’ By The River’, and other sides such as ‘Meet The Sun Half-Way’, ‘I Can’t Love You Any More’, ‘The Girl Who Took A Second Look’ and ‘Talkin’ To My Heart’, in 1941 she made her film debut in the amusing B-movie, Three Girls About Town, and subsequently appeared in the screen musicals Broadway, Something To Shout About, Tonight And Every Night, Tars And Spars, The Fabulous Dorseys, and The One And Only Genuine Original Family Band. In 1950 she headed the US touring company of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s South Pacific, staying with the show for approximately three years of its almost five-year run. Later, she sang in nightclubs, and during the late 50s and 60s appeared frequently on US television, featuring prominently in The Smith Family series in the early 70s.
Share this page