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Shirley Ross

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b. Bernice Gaunt, 7 January 1909 (1913 is also cited), Omaha, Nebraska, USA, d. 9 March 1975, Menlo Park, California, USA. After singing with Gus Arnheim’s popular dance band, Ross began appearing in Hollywood films from 1933. Among these were some musicals and some light comedies with interpolated musical numbers. She had small roles in films such as The Merry Widow (1934, which starred Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald), and in The Big Broadcast Of 1937 (1936, she sang ‘I’m Talking Through My Heart’ and ‘You Came To My Rescue’, the latter in duet with Frank Forrest). In 1936 she sang ‘Happy New Year’ in the drama San Francisco, and in Waikiki Wedding (1937) she sang a duet, ‘Blue Hawaii’, with Bing Crosby. Ross was also in Hideaway Girl (1936, with Martha Raye), Blossoms On Broadway (1937, with Edward Arnold and Weber And Fields), and The Big Broadcast Of 1938 (1938, in which she sang ‘Thanks For The Memory’ in a pleasing duet with Bob Hope). The song eventually became Hope’s theme tune. Ross then co-starred with Hope in Thanks For The Memory (1938), singing with him the title song and Frank Loesser and Hoagy Carmichael’s ‘Two Sleepy People’. Ross and Hope made popular recordings of both songs and it is by these that Ross remains best known today. In 1939 she was in Paris Honeymoon with Crosby, Café Society with Madeleine Carroll and Fred MacMurray, and co-starred with Hope in Some Like It Hot (later retitled Rhythm Romance), in which Gene Krupa and his band also featured. In 1941 Ross was in Sailors On Leave and in 1945 A Song For Miss Julie. After this, she retired from showbusiness.

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