Barbara Joan "Barbra" Streisand is an American singer and filmmaker. In a career spanning six decades, she has achieved success in multiple fields of entertainment and has been recognized with two Academy Awards, ten Grammy Awards including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and the Grammy Legend Award, five Emmy Awards including one Daytime Emmy, a Special Tony Award, an American Film Institute award, a Kennedy Center Honors prize, four Peabody Awards, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, nine Golden Globes, she is among a small group of entertainers who have been honored with an Emmy, Grammy and Tony Award – though only three were competitive awards – and is one of only two artists in that group who have won a Peabody. After beginning a successful recording career in the 1960s, Streisand ventured into film by the end of that decade, she starred in the critically acclaimed Funny Girl, for which she won the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Actress. Her other films include The Owl and the Pussycat, The Way We Were, A Star Is Born, for which she received her second Academy Award, composing music for the love theme "Evergreen", the first woman to be honored as a composer.
With the release of Yentl in 1983, Streisand became the first woman to write, produce and star in a major studio film. The film won an Oscar for a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Musical. Streisand is one of the best-selling recording artists of all time, with more than 68.5 million albums in the U. S. and with a total of 150 million albums and singles sold worldwide making her the best-selling female artist among top-selling artists recognized by the Recording Industry Association of America. The RIAA and Billboard recognize Streisand as holding the record for the most top 10 albums of any female recording artist: a total of 34 since 1963. According to Billboard, Streisand holds the record for the female with the most number one albums. Billboard recognizes Streisand as the greatest female of all time on its Billboard 200 chart and one of the greatest artists of all time on its Hot 100 chart. Streisand is the only recording artist to have a number-one album in each of the last six decades, having released 53 gold albums, 31 platinum albums, 14 multi-platinum albums in the United States.
Streisand was born on April 24, 1942, in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Diana and Emanuel Streisand. Her mother had been a soprano singer in her youth and considered a career in music, but became a school secretary, her father was a high school teacher at the same school. Streisand's family was Jewish, her father earned a master's degree from City College of New York in 1928 and was considered athletic and handsome. As a student, he spent his summers outdoors, once working as a lifeguard and another hitchhiking through Canada. "He'd try anything," his sister Molly said. "He wasn't afraid of anything." He married Ida in 1930, two years after graduating, became a respected educator with a focus on helping underprivileged and delinquent youth. In August 1943, a few months after Streisand's first birthday, her father died at age 34 from complications from an epileptic seizure the result of a head injury years earlier; the family fell with her mother working as a low-paid bookkeeper. As an adult, Streisand remembered those early years as always feeling like an "outcast," explaining, "Everybody else's father came home from work at the end of the day.
Mine didn't." Her mother tried to pay their bills but could not give her daughter the attention she craved: "When I wanted love from my mother, she gave me food," Streisand says. Streisand recalls that her mother had a "great voice" and sang semi-professionally on occasion, in her operatic soprano voice. During a visit to the Catskills when Streisand was 13, she told Rosie O'Donnell and her mother recorded some songs on tape; that session was the first time Streisand asserted herself as an artist, which became her "first moment of inspiration" as an artist. She has an older brother, a half-sister, the singer Roslyn Kind, from her mother's remarriage to Louis Kind in 1949. Roslyn is nine years younger than Streisand. Streisand began her education at the Jewish Orthodox Yeshiva of Brooklyn. There, she was considered to be bright and inquisitive about everything, she next entered Public School 89 in Brooklyn, during those early school years began watching television and going to movies. Watching the glamorous stars on the screen, she was soon entranced by acting and now hoped someday to become an actress as a means of escape: "I always wanted to be somebody, to be famous...
You know, get out of Brooklyn."Streisand became known by others in the neighborhood for her voice. With the other kids she remembers sitting on the stoop in front of their apartment building and singing: "I was considered the girl on the block with the good voice." That talent became a way for her to gain attention. She would practice her singing in the hallway of her apartment building which gave her voice an echoing quality, she made her singing debut at a PTA assembly, where she became a hit to everyone but her mother, critical of her daughter. Young Streisand was invited to sing at weddings and summer camp, along with having an unsuccessful audition at MGM records when she was nine. By the
William Clarence Eckstine was an American jazz and pop singer, a bandleader of the swing era. He was noted for his rich, resonant operatic bass-baritone voice. Eckstine's recording of "I Apologize" was awarded the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1999; the New York Times described him as an "influential band leader" whose "suave bass-baritone" and "full-throated, sugary approach to popular songs inspired singers like Joe Williams, Arthur Prysock and Lou Rawls." Eckstine's paternal grandparents were William F. Eckstein and Nannie Eckstein, a mixed-race, married couple who lived in Washington, D. C.. William F. was born in Nannie in Virginia. His parents were William Eckstein, a chauffeur, Charlotte Eckstein, a seamstress of note. Eckstine was born in Pennsylvania. Billy's sister, was a well-respected Spanish teacher at Taylor Allderdice High School in Pittsburgh, he attended Peabody High School before moving to Washington, DC. He attended Armstrong High School, St. Paul Normal and Industrial School, Howard University.
He left Howard in 1933, after winning first place in an amateur talent contest. Heading to Chicago, Eckstine joined Earl Hines' Grand Terrace Orchestra in 1939, staying with the band as vocalist and trumpeter until 1943. By that time, Eckstine had begun to make a name for himself through the Hines band's juke-box hits such as "Stormy Monday Blues", his own "Jelly Jelly." In 1944, Eckstine formed his own big band and it became the finishing school for adventurous young musicians who would shape the future of jazz. Included in this group were Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, Miles Davis, Art Blakey, Charlie Parker, Fats Navarro, as well as vocalist Sarah Vaughan. Tadd Dameron, Gil Fuller and Jerry Valentine were among the band's arrangers; the Billy Eckstine Orchestra is considered to be the first bop big-band, had Top Ten chart entries that included "A Cottage for Sale" and "Prisoner of Love". Both were awarded a gold disc by the RIAA. Dizzy Gillespie, in reflecting on the band in his 1979 autobiography To Be or Not to Bop, gives this perspective: "There was no band that sounded like Billy Eckstine's.
Our attack was strong, we were playing bebop, the modern style. No other band like this one existed in the world." Eckstine became a solo performer with records featuring lush sophisticated orchestrations. Before folding his band, Eckstine had recorded solo to support it, scoring two million-sellers in 1945 with "Cottage for Sale" and a revival of "Prisoner of Love". Far more successful than his band recordings, these prefigured Eckstine's future career. Eckstine would go on to record over a dozen hits during the late 1940s, he signed with the newly established MGM Records, had immediate hits with revivals of "Everything I Have Is Yours", Rodgers and Hart's "Blue Moon", Juan Tizol's "Caravan". Eckstine had further success in 1950 with Victor Young's theme song to "My Foolish Heart," and the next year with a revival of the 1931 Bing Crosby hit, "I Apologize", his 1950 appearance at the Paramount Theatre in New York City drew a larger audience than Frank Sinatra at his Paramount performance. Eckstine was the subject of a three-page profile in the 25 April 1950 issue of LIFE magazine, in which the photographer Martha Holmes accompanied Eckstine and his entourage during a week in New York City.
One photograph taken by Holmes and published in LIFE showed Eckstine with a group of white female admirers, one of whom had her hand on his shoulder and her head on his chest while she laughed. Eckstine's biographer Cary Ginell, wrote of the image that Holmes "...captured a moment of shared exuberance and affection, unblemished by racial tension." Holmes would describe the photograph as the favorite of the many she had taken in her career as it "...told just what the world should be like". The photograph was considered so controversial that an editor at LIFE sought personal approval from Henry Luce, the magazine's publisher, who said it should be published; the publication of the image caused letters of protest to be written to the magazine, singer Harry Belafonte subsequently said of the publication that "When that photo hit, in this national publication, it was if a barrier had been broken". The controversy that resulted from the photograph had a seminal effect on the trajectory of Eckstine's career.
Tony Bennett would recall that "It changed everything... Before that, he had a tremendous following...and it just offended the white community", a sentiment shared by pianist Billy Taylor who said that the "coverage and that picture just slammed the door shut for him". Among Eckstine's recordings of the 1950s was a 1957 duet with Sarah Vaughan, "Passing Strangers", a minor hit in 1957, but an initial No. 22 success in the UK Singles Chart. The 1960 Las Vegas live album, No Cover, No Minimum, featured Eckstine taking a few trumpet solos and showcased his nightclub act, he recorded albums for Mercury and Roulette in the early 1960s, appeared on Motown albums during the mid to late 1960s. After recording sparingly during the 1970s for Al Bell's Stax/Enterprise imprint, the international touring Eckstine made his last recording, the Grammy-nominated Billy Eckstine Sings with Benny Carter in 1986. Eckstine made numerous appearances on television variety shows, including on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Nat King Cole Show, The Tonight Show with Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, The Merv Griffin Show, The Art Linkletter Show, The Joey Bishop Show, The Dean Martin Show, The Flip Wilson Show, Playboy After Dark.
He performed as an actor in the TV sitc
Helen Morgan was an American singer and actress who worked in films and on the stage. A quintessential torch singer, she made a big splash in the Chicago club scene in the 1920s, she starred as Julie LaVerne in the original Broadway production of Hammerstein and Kern's musical Show Boat in 1927, as well as in the 1932 Broadway revival of the musical, appeared in two film adaptations, a part-talkie made in 1929 and a full-sound version made in 1936, becoming associated with the role. She suffered from bouts of alcoholism, despite her notable success in the title role of another Hammerstein and Kern's Broadway musical, Sweet Adeline, her stage career was short. Helen Morgan died of cirrhosis of the liver at the age of 41, she was portrayed by Polly Bergen in the Playhouse 90 drama The Helen Morgan Story and by Ann Blyth in the 1957 biopic based on the television drama. She was born Helen Riggin in 1900 in Illinois, her father, Frank Riggin, was a farmer in Fountain County, Indiana. After her mother, Lulu Lang Riggin and remarried, she changed the last name to Morgan.
Her mother's second marriage ended in divorce, she moved to Chicago with her daughter. Helen never finished school beyond the eighth grade, worked a variety of jobs just to get by, she worked as an extra in films. By the age of 20, Morgan had started singing in speakeasies in Chicago, her voice was not fashionable during the 1920s for the kind of songs. A draped-over-the-piano look became her signature while performing at Billy Rose's Backstage Club in 1925. In spite of the National Prohibition Act of 1919 outlawing alcohol in the United States, Morgan became a heavy drinker and was reportedly drunk during these performances. Morgan was noticed by Florenz Ziegfeld while dancing in the chorus of his production of Sally in 1923, she went on to perform with the Ziegfeld Follies in 1931, the Follies' last active year. During this period, she studied music at the Metropolitan Opera in her free time. In 1927, Morgan appeared as Julie LaVerne in the original cast of her best-known role, she sang "Bill" and "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" in two stage runs and two film productions of Show Boat over a span of 11 years.
During the run of Show Boat, Morgan's stardom led to difficulties. Her prominence in the world of New York nightclubs led to her fronting a club called Chez Morgan, at which she entertained. On December 30, 1927, only days after the opening of Show Boat, she was arrested at Chez Morgan for violation of liquor laws. Charges were dropped in February 1928, the club reopened as Helen Morgan's Summer Home, but she was arrested again on June 29 and this time indicted. A jury acquitted her at a trial held in April 1929. After appearing in the 1929 film version of Show Boat, she went on to star in Kern and Hammerstein's Broadway musical Sweet Adeline; the title was a pun on the famous barbershop quartet song. She took the role of burlesque star Kitty Darling in Rouben Mamoulian's 1929 classic feature film Applause, with fine acting that included stage act portrayals, as well as a cappella singing in private scenes. Morgan starred in a radio program, Broadway Varieties, on CBS; the show, which featured light and semiclassical music, ran from September 24, 1933, to April 22, 1934.
A version, without Morgan, ran from May 2, 1934, to July 30, 1937. Her last motion picture appearance was in the 1936 film version of Show Boat considered to be the better of the two film versions of the stage musical. In the late 1930s, Morgan was signed up for a show at Chicago's Loop Theater, she spent time at her farm in High Falls, New York. Alcoholism plagued her, she was hospitalized in late 1940, after playing Julie La Verne one last time in a 1940 Los Angeles stage revival of Show Boat, she made something of a comeback in 1941, thanks to Lloyd Johnston. However, the years of alcohol abuse had taken their toll, she collapsed onstage during a performance of George White's Scandals of 1942 and died in Chicago of cirrhosis of the liver on October 9, 1941. Morgan was married three times, first to a fan she had met at a stage door while she was performing in Sally to Maurice "Buddy" Maschke, to Lloyd Johnston, whom she married on July 27, 1941. On June 25, 1926, in Springfield, Morgan had a baby girl whom she gave up for adoption.
Morgan was portrayed by Polly Bergen in a 1957 Playhouse 90 drama, The Helen Morgan Story, directed by George Roy Hill. Bergen won an Emmy Award for her performance; that same year, the feature film The Helen Morgan Story starred Ann Blyth as Morgan. Six Cylinder Love, 1923 The Heart Raider, 1923 Show Boat, 1929 Applause, 1929 Glorifying the American Girl, 1930 Roadhouse Nights, 1930 The Gigolo Racket, 1931 short subject Manhattan Lullaby, 1933 short subject The Doctor, 1934 short subject Frankie and Johnny, 1936 You Belon
Vincent Millie Youmans was an American Broadway composer and producer. A leading Broadway composer of his day, Youmans collaborated with all the greatest lyricists on Broadway: Ira Gershwin, Otto Harbach, Oscar Hammerstein II, Irving Caesar, Anne Caldwell, Leo Robin, Howard Dietz, Clifford Grey, Billy Rose, Edward Eliscu, Edward Heyman, Harold Adamson, Buddy De Sylva and Gus Kahn. Youmans' early songs are remarkable for their economy of melodic material: two-, three- or four-note phrases are repeated and varied by subtle harmonic or rhythmic changes. In years, however influenced by Jerome Kern, he turned to longer musical sentences and more free-flowing melodic lines. Youmans published fewer than 100 songs, but 18 of these were considered standards by ASCAP, a remarkably high percentage. Youmans was born in New York City into a prosperous family of hat makers; when he was two, his father moved the family to New York. Youmans attended the Trinity School in Mamaroneck, New York, Heathcote Hall in Rye, New York.
His ambition was to become an engineer, he attended Yale University for a short time. He dropped out to become a runner for a Wall Street brokerage firm, but was soon drafted in the Navy during World War I, although he saw no combat. While stationed in Illinois, he took an interest in the theatre and began producing troop shows for the Navy. After the war, Youmans was a Tin Pan Alley song-plugger for Jerome H. Remick Music Publishers, a rehearsal pianist for composer Victor Herbert’s operettas. In 1921 he collaborated with lyricist Ira Gershwin on the score for Two Little Girls in Blue, which brought him his first Broadway composing credit, his first hit song "Oh Me! Oh My!", a contract with TB Harms Company. His next show was Wildflower, with lyrics by Otto Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein II, a major success, his most enduring success was No, No, with lyrics by Irving Caesar, which reached Broadway in 1925 after an unprecedented try-out in Chicago and subsequent national and international tours.
No, No Nanette was the biggest musical-comedy success of the 1920s in both Europe and the USA and his two songs "Tea for Two" and "I Want to Be Happy" were worldwide hits. Both songs are considered standards. "Tea For Two" was ranked among the most recorded popular songs for decades. In 1927, Youmans began producing his own Broadway shows, he left his publisher TB Harms Company and began publishing his own songs. He had a major success with Hit the Deck!, which included the hit songs "Sometimes I'm Happy" and "Hallelujah". His subsequent productions after 1927 were failures, despite the song, his last contributions to Broadway were additional songs for Take a Chance. In 1933, Youmans wrote the songs for Flying Down to Rio, the first film to feature Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers as a featured dancing pair, his score contained "Orchids in the Moonlight", "The Carioca", "Music Makes Me", the title song. The film was a tremendous hit, it revived the composer's professional prospects, though he never again wrote for Astaire/Rogers.
After a professional career of only 13 years, Youmans was forced into retirement in 1934 after contracting tuberculosis. He spent the remainder of his life battling the disease, his only return to Broadway was to mount an ill-fated extravaganza entitled Vincent Youmans' Ballet Revue, an ambitious mix of Latin-American and classical music, including Ravel's Daphnis et Chloé. Choreographed by Leonide Massine; the production lost some $4 million. He died of tuberculosis in Denver, Colorado. At the time of his death, Youmans left behind a large quantity of unpublished material. In 1970, Youmans was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 1971, No, No Nanette enjoyed a notable Broadway revival starring Ruby Keeler, choreographed by legendary Hollywood choreographer Busby Berkeley, credited with beginning the nostalgia era on Broadway. In 1983, he was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame. Two Little Girls in Blue Wildflower Mary Jane McKane Lollipop No, No, Nanette Oh, Please!
Hit the Deck Rainbow A Night in Venice Great Day! Smiles Through the Years Take a Chance. Take a Chance Flying Down to Rio No, No, Nanette Tea for Two Hit the Deck "An Invitation" with lyrics by Edward Heyman "An Orphan Is the Girl for Me" with lyrics by Zelda Sears and Walter De Leon "Anyway, We Had Fun" with lyrics by Ring Lardner "April Blossoms" with help from Herbert Stothart and lyrics by Otto Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein II "Armful of You" with lyrics by Clifford Grey and Leo Robin "Bambalina" with help from Herbert Stothart and lyrics by Otto Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein II "Be Good to Me" with lyrics by Ring Lardner "Blue Bowery" with lyrics by Clifford Grey and Harold Adamson "Bo Koo" with lyrics by Zelda Sears and Walter De Leon "The Boy next Door" with lyrics by Otto Harbach and Schuyler Greene "The Bride Was Dressed in White" with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II "The Call of the Sea" with lyrics by Otto Harbach and Irving Caesar "Carioca" with lyrics by Gus Kahn and Edward Eliscu: Academy Award Nomination for Best Original Song "Carry on Keep Smiling" with lyrics by Harold Adamson "The Chinese Party" with lyrics by Clifford Grey and Harold Adamson "Come on and Pet Me" with lyrics by
Okeh Records is an American record label founded by the Otto Heinemann Phonograph Corporation, a phonograph supplier established in 1916, which branched out into phonograph records in 1918. The name was spelled "OkeH", formed from the initials of Otto K. E. Heinemann, but changed to "OKeh". Since 1926, Okeh has been a subsidiary of Columbia Records, now itself a subsidiary of Sony Music. Today, Okeh is an imprint of a specialty label of Columbia. Okeh was founded by Otto K. E. Heinemann, a German-American manager for the U. S. branch of Odeon Records, owned by Carl Lindstrom. In 1916, Heinemann incorporated the Otto Heinemann Phonograph Corporation, set up a recording studio and pressing plant in New York City, started the label in 1918; the first discs were vertical cut, but the more common lateral-cut method was used. The label's parent company was renamed the General Phonograph Corporation, the name on its record labels was changed to OKeh; the common 10-inch discs retailed for 75 cents each, the 12-inch discs for $1.25.
The company's musical director was Fred Hager, credited under the pseudonym Milo Rega. Okeh issued popular songs, dance numbers, vaudeville skits similar to other labels, but Heinemann wanted to provide music for audiences neglected by the larger record companies. Okeh produced lines of recordings in German, Polish and Yiddish for immigrant communities in the United States; some were pressed from masters leased from European labels, while others were recorded by Okeh in New York. Okeh's early releases included music by the New Orleans Jazz Band. In 1920, Perry Bradford encouraged Fred Hager, the director of artists and repertoire, to record blues singer Mamie Smith; the records were popular, the label issued a series of race records directed by Clarence Williams in New York City and Richard M. Jones in Chicago. From 1921–1932, this series included music by Williams, Lonnie Johnson, King Oliver, Louis Armstrong. Recording for the label were Bix Beiderbecke, Bennie Moten, Frankie Trumbauer, Eddie Lang.
As part of the Carl Lindström Company, Okeh's recordings were distributed by other labels owned by Lindstrom, including Parlophone in the UK. In 1926, Okeh was sold to Columbia Records. Ownership changed to the American Record Corporation in 1934, the race records series from the 1920s ended. CBS bought the company in 1938. OkeH was a label for rhythm and blues during the 1950s, but jazz albums continued to be released, as in the work of Wild Bill Davis and Red Saunders. General Phonograph Corporation used Mamie Smith's popular song "Crazy Blues" to cultivate a new market. Portraits of Smith and lists of her records were printed in advertisements in newspapers such as the Chicago Defender, the Atlanta Independent, New York Colored News, others popular with African-Americans. Okeh had further prominence in the demographic, as African-American musicians Sara Martin, Eva Taylor, Shelton Brooks, Esther Bigeou, Handy's Orchestra recorded for the label. Okeh issued the 8000 series for race records; the success of this series led Okeh to start recording music where it was being performed, known as remote recording or location recording.
Starting in 1923, Okeh sent mobile recording equipment to tour the country and record performers not heard in New York or Chicago. Regular trips were made once or twice a year to New Orleans, San Antonio, St. Louis, Kansas City, Detroit. Okeh releases grew infrequent after 1932, although the label continued into 1935. In 1940, after Columbia lost the rights to the Vocalion name by dropping the Brunswick label, the Okeh name was revived to replace it; the script logo design still in use today was introduced on a demonstration record announcing that event. The label was again discontinued in 1946 and revived yet again in 1951. In 1953, Okeh became an exclusive R&B label when its parent Columbia Records transferred Okeh's pop music artists to the newly formed Epic Records. In 1963, Carl Davis boosted Okeh's fortunes for a couple of years. Epic Records took over management of Okeh in 1965. Among the artists during Okeh's pop phase of the 50s and 60s were Johnnie Ray and Little Joe & the Thrillers. With soul music becoming popular in the 1960s, Okeh signed Major Lance, who gave the label two big successes with "The Monkey Time" and "Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um".
Fifties rocker Larry Williams found a musical home for a period of time in the 60s, recording and producing funky soul with a band that included Johnny "Guitar" Watson. He was paired with Little Richard, persuaded to return to secular music, he produced two Little Richard albums for Okeh Records in 1966 and 1967, which returned Little Richard to the Billboard album chart for the first time in ten years and produced the hit single "Poor Dog". He acted as the music director for Little Richard's live performances at the Okeh Club in Los Angeles. Bookings for Little Richard during this period skyrocketed. Williams recorded and released material of his own and with Watson, with some moderate chart success; this period produced some of Williams's best and most original work. Much of the success of Okeh in the 1960s was dependent on producer Carl Davis and songwriter Curtis Mayfield. After they left the label, Okeh slipped in sales and was retired by Columbia in 1970. In 1993, Sony Music reactivated the Okeh label as a new-age blues label.
Okeh's first new signings included G. Love & Special Sauce, Keb' Mo, Popa Chubby, Little Axe. Throughout the first year, in celeb
Ruth Etting was an American singing star and actress of the 1920s and 1930s, who had over 60 hit recordings and worked in stage and film. Known as "America's sweetheart of song", her signature tunes were "Shine On, Harvest Moon", "Ten Cents a Dance" and "Love Me or Leave Me", her other popular recordings included "Button Up Your Overcoat", "Mean to Me", "Exactly Like You" and "Shaking the Blues Away". As a young girl in Nebraska, Etting had wanted to be an artist. At sixteen, her grandparents decided to send her to art school in Chicago. While Etting attended class, she found a job at the Marigold Gardens nightclub. Etting, who enjoyed singing in school and church, never took voice lessons, she became a featured vocalist at the club. Etting was managed by Moe Snyder, whom she married in 1922. Snyder made arrangements for Etting's recording and film contracts as well as her personal and radio appearances, she became nationally known when she appeared in Flo Ziegfeld's Follies of 1927. Etting intended to retire from performing in 1935, but this did not happen until after her divorce from Snyder in 1937.
Harry Myrl Alderman, Etting's pianist, was separated from his wife when he and Etting began a relationship. Snyder did not like seeing his former wife in the company of other men and began making telephone threats to Etting in January 1938. By October, Snyder traveled to Los Angeles and detained Alderman after he left a local radio station. Saying he intended to kill Etting and his own daughter, who worked for Etting, Snyder shot Alderman. Three days after Alderman was shot, his wife filed suit against Etting for alienation of affections. While Alderman and Etting claimed to have been married in Mexico in July 1938, Alderman's divorce would not be final until December of that year; the couple was married during Moe Snyder's trial for attempted murder in December 1938. Etting and Alderman relocated to a farm outside of Colorado Springs, where they were out of the spotlight for most of their lives, her fictionalized story was told in the 1955 film Love Me Or Leave Me with Doris Day as Ruth Etting and James Cagney as Snyder.
Etting was born in David City, Nebraska in 1897 to Alfred, a banker, Winifred Etting. Her mother died when she was five years old and she went to live with her paternal grandparents and Hannah Etting, her father moved away from David City and was no longer a part of his daughter's life. Etting's grandfather, owned the Etting Roller Mills. Etting was interested in drawing at an early age, her grandparents were asked to buy the textbooks she had used at the end of a school term because Etting had filled them with her drawings. She left David City at the age of sixteen to attend art school in Chicago. Etting got a job designing costumes at the Marigold Gardens nightclub, which led to employment singing and dancing in the chorus there, she gave up art school soon after going to work at Marigold Gardens. Before turning to performing, Etting worked as a designer for the owner of a costume shop in Chicago's Loop. While she enjoyed singing at school and in church, Etting never took voice lessons, she said that she had patterned her song styling after Marion Harris, but created her own unique style by alternating tempos and by varying some notes and phrases.
Describing herself as a "high, squeaky soprano" during her days in David City, Etting developed a lower range singing voice after her arrival in Chicago which led to her success. Her big moment came when a featured vocalist became ill and was unable to perform. With no other replacement available, Etting was asked to fill in, she changed into the costume and scanned the music arrangements. She became a featured vocalist at the nightclub. Etting described herself as a naive girl when she arrived in Chicago. Due to her inexperience in the ways of the big city, she became reliant on Snyder after their meeting. Etting and Snyder met in 1922. Snyder, who divorced his first wife to marry Etting, was well-acquainted with Chicago's nightclubs and the entertainers who worked in them. Snyder used his political connections to get bookings for Etting, called "Miss City Hall" because of Snyder's influence in Chicago. Etting married gangster Martin "Moe the Gimp" Snyder on July 17, 1922 in Crown Point, Indiana.
She said she married him "nine-tenths out of fear and one-tenth out of pity." Etting told her friends, "If I leave him, he'll kill me." He managed her career, booking radio appearances and had her signed to an exclusive recording contract with Columbia Records. The couple moved to New York in 1927, where Etting made her Broadway debut in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1927. Irving Berlin had recommended her to showman Florenz Ziegfeld. Etting nervously prepared to sing for Ziegfeld at the audition. However, he did not ask her to sing at all, she was hired on that basis. While the original plan for the show was for Etting to do a tap dance after singing "Shaking the Blues Away", she remembered