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Y’all have a Glamorous day!
Frances Langford (April 4, 1913 – July 11, 2005) was born and raised in Lakeland, Florida, about two hours south of where I was born and raised! Originally trained as an opera singer, she had to have a tonsillectomy that changed her from a soprano to a contralto, and thus changing the style of music she could sing from operatic to the modern, big band type of the time. At age 17, a famous cigar manufacturer heard her sing at an American Legion party and invited her to sing on his radio show. This began her long career in radio, working with such stars as Louella Parsons, Dick Powell, Don Ameche, and Rudy Vallee. Her film debut was in 1935 and through the years she popularized many songs along the way. She appeared as herself, the singer, in many films. Frances was a member of Bob Hope’s USO tour during WWII and worked with him in every war through the Persian Gulf. During WWII she penned the weekly “Purple Heart Diary” in newspapers which depicted her travels in the USO and to visit the wounded in hospital. She used the column as a voice for the soldier’s complaints and compliments. After she retired from Hollywood, she moved back to Florida and became a supportive member of the Jensen Beach community, becoming a major philanthropist in the area. She loved boating and sport fishing and was very generous to the Florida Oceanographic Society where the visitors center bears her name and also houses some of her artifacts. Her collection of mounted tuna, marlin and other fish adorn the walls.