Monday, December 27, 2010
RIP: LINA ROMAY
Lina Romay, who sang with the Latin-inflected Xavier Cugat orchestra in the early 1940s before beginning a decade-long career as a film and TV actress, has died. She was 91. Romay's son, Jay Gould, says his mother died Dec. 17 of natural causes at a hospital in Pasadena.
Romay began her entertainment career by touring as the Cugat orchestra's lead singer.
A performance with the orchestra in the 1942 Fred Astaire and Rita Hayworth film "You Were Never Lovelier" led to roles in some 15 other films and appearances on the Milton Berle Show, the Red Skelton Show and other TV programs.
An exceptionally fine singer, she was often heard on popular radio shows of the 1940's such as Jack Benny, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. She sang on Hollywood Canteen and in USO shows broadcast to American serviceman overseas during WW2. My research has uncovered her appearances on at least 15 Command Performance radio shows. She also was featured in several Mail Call broadcasts, and with the Marx Bros, quite an impressive lineup! She sang on Bing Crosby's Philco Shows and others. She even had her own radio show, some of which are available by some private collectors. We know, based on what I've read, her early days as the lead female singer with Xavier Cugat's orchestra, while he was the headlining at the Waldorf Astoria. But I think she left his employ when she signed a film contract with MGM during that period. She also has appeared on Broadway, most notably in Michael Todd's Peep Show and singing in many small venues.
Her show business career ended in 1953, but from the late 1970s into the 1980s, she worked as a Spanish-language radio announcer for horse races at Hollywood Park Racetrack.