Kenny Baker (American performer)

Kenneth Laurence Baker (September 30, 1912 – August 10, 1985) was an American singer and actor who first gained notice as the featured singer on radio's The Jack Benny Program during the 1930s.

Kenny Baker
KennyBakerStageDoorCanteen.jpg
in the trailer for Stage Door Canteen (1943)
Born
Kenneth Laurence Baker

(1912-09-30)September 30, 1912
DiedAugust 10, 1985(1985-08-10) (aged 72)
OccupationFilm, radio, stage actor and singer
Years active1933–1951

FilmEdit

Before he became a star, Baker sang as a member of the Vitaphone chorus at Warner Bros.[1]

At the height of his radio fame, and after leaving the Benny show in 1939 (succeeded by Dennis Day, whose tenor voice was very similar to Baker's), he appeared in 17 film musicals, including Mr. Dodd Takes the Air (1937), At the Circus (1939), and The Harvey Girls (1946). He also starred in the 1939 movie version of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado. He later co-starred with Mary Martin in the original Broadway production of Kurt Weill and Ogden Nash's One Touch of Venus (1943).

RadioEdit

After being on the Benny program 1935–1939, Baker returned to radio as a regular performer on Fred Allen's Texaco Star Theater program (1940–1942). He was also heard on Blue Ribbon Town (1943–1944) and Glamour Manor (1945–1947). He had his own programs, the Kenny Baker Show (1954)[2] and Sincerely—Kenny Baker (1946).[3] The latter was syndicated by the Frederick W. Ziv Company via electrical transcription.[4]

Later yearsEdit

After retiring from performing in the early 1950s, Baker became a Christian Science practitioner and motivational speaker and recorded a number of record albums of hymns for his church.

DeathEdit

Baker died of a heart attack in Solvang, California, August 10, 1985, aged 72.

Partial filmographyEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Radio Idol Kenny Baker InNew Film". Altoona Tribune. Pennsylvania, Altoona. August 20, 1937. p. 4. Retrieved September 8, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  2. ^ DeLong, Thomas A. (1996). Radio Stars: An Illustrated Biographical Dictionary of 953 Performers, 1920 Through 1960. McFarland & Company. ISBN 978-0-7864-2834-2. pp. 19–20.
  3. ^ "Kenny Baker and Donna Dae Star in WHP Musicale; Open Tuesday 6.15". Harrisburg Telegraph. April 6, 1946. p. 19. Retrieved April 24, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  
  4. ^ "Ziv ad" (PDF). Broadcasting. May 17, 1948. p. 14. Retrieved 20 August 2019.

External linksEdit

Audio files