Wednesday, May 25, 2011

More Pentoniana

"Kay Penton was one of the greatest singers I ever heard. She didn't appreciate her great talent but Benny [Goodman] did." ---Teddy Wilson 


I've unearthed a bit more info about singer Kay Penton, who I first wrote about herein last November 29.

She was born in New Orleans in 1924 and began singing publicly at the age of five. There are a couple of articles about her in the New Orleans Times Picayune (4/15/40 & 3/4/42). The first is an ad for Penton's appearance with N'awlins'  famous Pinky's (Vidacovich) Orchestra (aka The Dawnbusters); the second concerns her role in a 1941 George White's Scandals and finds the legendary producer quoted as saying the singer will become a "great name" in show business. He should know!

Her first big time gig as a band singer was with Guy Lombardo (Louis Armstrong's favorite big band. . .seriously) in 1943, and by 1944 she already had her own Friday night radio show on CBS. One article about her at this time deemed her the "prettiest girl in radio" (radio. . .did it really matter?) and stated that three movie studios were courting her for a screen test. There is, however, no info on the net that these ever came to pass. In 1947, in Miami, FL, she married "textile magnate" Lou Bolton; the marriage, though, was annulled less than a month later. Somewhere along the way, she also dated John Hertz, the ex-spouse of Myrna Loy. Yes! John Hertz of the Rent-a-Car operation. Factor in her relationship with Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Trujillo along with this romantic factoid and you have to admit the gal really got around. 

Has anyone who had so high a public profile for so many years ever fallen so far below radar? Thirty years old. . .over and out. There's still not even a single photo of her on the internet. There is now. At least, there's a caricature. If Penton's alive today, she'd be 87.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

very nice to read your findings on kay penton. mysterious and great singer really rings the bell.