born on 7/10/1911 in Akron, OH, United States
died on 21/5/1973 in Stuart, FL, United States
Vaughn Wilton Monroe (October 7, 1911 May 21, 1973) was an American baritone singer, trumpeter and big band leader and actor, most popular in the 1940s and 1950s. He has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; for recording and radio.
Monroe was born in Akron, Ohio on October 7, 1911. He graduated from Jeannette High School in Pennsylvania in 1929 where he was senior class president and voted "most likely to succeed." After graduation, he attended Carnegie Institute of Technology, where he was an active member of the Sigma Nu fraternity. Monroe attended New England Conservatory for one semester in 1935, studying voice with Clarence B. Shirley.
He formed his first orchestra in Boston in 1940 and became its principal vocalist. He began recording for Victor's low-priced Bluebird label. That same year, Monroe built The Meadows, a restaurant and nightclub on Route 9 in Framingham, Massachusetts, west of Boston. He hosted the Camel Caravan radio program from there starting in 1946, and during this time featured in a Camel commercial. The caravan burned to the ground in December 1980 after sitting shuttered and vacant for a number of years.
Monroe was tall and handsome which helped him as a band leader and singer, as well as in Hollywood. He was sometimes called "the Baritone with Muscles", "the Voice with Hair on its Chest", "Ol' Leather Tonsils", or "Leather Lungs".
He recorded extensively for RCA Victor until the 1950s and his signature tune was "Racing With the Moon" (1941). Among his other hits were "In the Still of the Night" (1939), "There I Go" (1941), "There I've Said It Again" (1945), "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow" (1946), "Ballerina" (1947), "Melody Time" (1948), "Riders in the Sky" (1949), "Someday (You'll Want Me To Want You)" (1949), "Sound Off" (1951), and "In the Middle of the House" (1956). He also turned down the chance to record "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer".
Monroe also wrote a number of songs ranging from "Army Song" to less-known ones like the "Jeannette High School Alma Mater".
Movies also beckoned, although he did not pursue it with vigor. Monroe appeared in 1944's Meet the People, Carnegie Hall (1947), Singing Guns (1950), and The Toughest Man in Arizona (1952). He co-authored The Adventures of Mr. Putt Putt, a children's book about airplanes and flying, published in 1949.
He hosted The Vaughn Monroe Show on CBS Television from 1950–51 and from 1954–55, and also appeared on Bonanza and The Mike Douglas Show, as well as The Ed Sullivan Show, Texaco Star Theatre, The Jackie Gleason Show, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, and American Bandstand. He was a major stockholder in RCA and appeared in print ads and television commercials for the company's TV and audio products.
After leaving the performing end of show business, he remained with RCA for many years as a TV spokesperson, executive, and talent scout. In the latter capacity, he helped give Neil Sedaka, among others, his first major exposure.
His version of 'Let it Snow' (from 1946) was featured in Die Hard and Die Hard II.
Was a licensed pilot and once owned a Lockheed Model 12 Electra Junior plane.
Was a motorcyclist.
The popularity of some of his western tunes got Vaughn his first acting film part with Singing Guns (1950).
Sold over 5,000,000 records in 1944.
Was married from 1941 to his death in 1973.
Had two daughters: Candace, born December 14, 1941, and Christina, born October 16, 1944.
Was a virtuoso on the trumpet and trombone.
Was awarded 2 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for Recording at 1600 Vine Street and one for Radio at 1755 Vine Street in Hollywood, California.
Was a model railroader, brought train car kits with him on the tour bus. Written about in Model Railroader magazine in the '80s in a column called "Looking Back with John Page".
According to surviving members of the rock group, "Doors", Monroe's song "Ghost Riders in the Sky" was the influence behind their hit, "Riders on the Storm".
"As a bandleader, people expect you to be artistic. But to be successful you've got to also develop a keen sense of business. On the bandstand, you sing, play or direct. A show is expected and you provide it. But off the stand, when it comes to picking new tunes, choosing spots to play, trying to work out recording dates and broadcasts, negotiating contracts, and things of that sort -- well, that's the other side of the picture. The part that doesn't show."
Monroe died on May 21, 1973 at Martin County Memorial Hospital, shortly after having stomach surgery . He was buried in Fernhill Memorial Gardens and Mausoleum in Stuart, Florida.
Monroe Orchestra personnel
- Moonmaids, a female vocal quartet (1946 to 1952)
- Frank L. Ryerson, arranger trumpeter (1944)
- Ziggy Talent
- 1.0 1.1 Vaughn Monroe Dies At 62, United Press International, May 22, 1973. URL accessed on 2010-10-08.
- 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Wertz, Marjorie "Singer Vaughn Monroe's road to stardom went through Jeannette" Feb. 9, 2007 Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
- http://archive.org/details/tobacco_sle13d00b Commercial starts at 1.48
- Achievements Songs
- Vaughn Monroe, 62, Dies; Singer and Bandleader; Headliner of An Era, New York Times, May 22, 1973. URL accessed on 2010-10-08.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Vaughn Monroe
- Vaughn Monroe Big Band Era Singer
- Singer Vaughn Monroe's road to stardom went through Jeannette
- Songs Written by Vaughn Monroe (as listed on the Vaughn Monroe Appreciation Society website)
- The Meadows