Often appearing next to Frank Sinatra while with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra during the early '40s, Connie Haines delivered a few of Dorsey's chart hits and recorded on her own during the '50s and '60s. Born Yvonne Marie Antoinette Ja Mais in Savannah in 1922, she learned the art of vocals quite early; her mother was both a voice and dance teacher. Living in Jacksonville after her parents divorced, she began airing over the radio before the age of ten. In 1931, she appeared over NBC radio as Baby Yvonne Marie, the Little Princess of the Air, sang with Paul Whiteman's Orchestra one year later, and in 1934 won a vocal contest on The Fred Allen Show.
Haines' first big band contract was with Howard Lally, though by the age of 16 she was singing with Harry James' band (her first professional gig with Frank Sinatra). Financial problems forced James to fire both Sinatra and (later) Haines, though both found work with the same leader: Tommy Dorsey. Beginning in 1940, Haines, Sinatra, and the later addition of the Pied Pipers made Dorsey's one of the strongest bands from a pop standpoint, and Haines appeared on several hits: "Two Dreams Met," "Oh, Look at Me Now," "Kiss the Boys Goodbye," and "What Is This Thing Called Love?" After leaving Dorsey's band, Connie Haines sang with the Bob Crosby Orchestra during 1941. As a solo singer, she recorded singles and LPs for a variety of labels (Coral, Capitol, Mercury, Columbia, and Dot) during the next few decades. She continued performing into the '90s, but passed away in 2008 of the neuromuscular disease myasthenia gravis . ~ John Bush