Helen Forrest

Helen Forrest, April 12, 1917 – July 11, 1999 was a popular jazz singer during America’s Big Band era. Helen Fogel was born to a Jewish family from Atlantic City, New Jersey, on April 12, 1917. At the age of 10, she sang in her brother’s band. Later, she began her career on CBS radio as Bonnie Blue. Forrest was hired by Artie Shaw, the bandleader in 1939. Shaw was searching for new talent after Billie Holiday, the vocalist, had left the band in the previous year. Forrest recorded 38 singles in Shaw’s band. Shaw’s biggest hits were “They Say” (a.k.a. “All the Things You Are”) and “They Say”. Late 1939, Forrest quit Shaw to join Benny Goodman. With Benny Goodman she recorded many popular songs including “The Man I Love.” In 1940, she recorded with Nat King Cole as well as Lionel Hampton. Harry James hired Forrest in 1941. Harry James hired Forrest to record some of her most beloved songs, such as “I Had the Craziest Wish” and “I Don’t Want To Walk Without You”. Forrest also dated James, until he met Betty Grable. Forrest became known for her involvement in many of the biggest bands of the big-band era. In late 1943, Forrest decided to pursue a solo career and left Harry James. She sang on Dick Haymes’ radio show in the 1940s. Haymes was the one who recorded “Some Sunday Morning.” After a pause in recording in 1950s, Forrest began singing with Tommy Dorsey’s Orchestra under Sam Donahue during the 1960s. In the 1970s and 1980s, she continued singing in supper clubs. In 1983, her final album was released. She sang until her retirement in the early 1990s when she was diagnosed with arthritis. She recorded over 500 songs during her career. Forrest was also a part of several musical films, including Bathing Beauty (1944), and Two Girls and a Sailor (44). She was also a civil rights activist. Forrest was married three times and divorced three more times. She had one son, Michael Forrest Feinman. He currently resides in Lancaster. Helen Forrest, 82, died of congestive heart disease in Woodland Hills on July 11, 1999. Mount Sinai Memorial Park, Los Angeles, California is where her final resting place will be. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Forrest User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License and may also be available under the GNU FDL.

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