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. Kelly’s records with the Modernaires included ‘Juke Box Saturday Night’, ‘There! I’ve Said It Again’, ‘You Belong To My Heart’, ‘Goody Goody’, ‘Margie’ and ‘Stop, Look And Listen’. With Dick Stabile she recorded ‘Lost And Found’ and ‘My Heart Is Taking Lessons’; with Al Donahue, ‘Jeepers Creepers’, ‘Moon Love’, ‘The Lambeth Walk’, ‘Stairway To The Stars’ and ‘South American Way’; and with Artie Shaw, ‘Someone’s Rocking My Dreamboat’ and ‘I Don’t Want To Walk Without You’. Kelly retired in 1978, and in the late 80s her daughter, Paula Kelly Jnr. (b. 21 October 1943), was reported to be singing an updated version of ‘Juke Box Saturday Night’ with the Modernaires, accompanied by a 15-piece band led by the same Tex Beneke.
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