Bea Wain

aka Beatrice WainBeatrice Wayne

Photo of Bea Wain
  • Birth Name

    Beatrice Weinsier
  • Born

    April 30, 1917
    New York, New York
  • Died

    August 19, 2017 (age 100)
    Beverly Hills, California
  • Orchestras

    Larry Clinton

Considered by many to be the best vo­cal­ist of her era, Bea Wain stud­ied pi­ano, danc­ing and elo­cu­tion as a youth but had no in­cli­na­tion to take up singing un­til high school. She soon be­gan ap­pear­ing on lo­cal in­de­pen­dent ra­dio sta­tions in her na­tive New York and in the mid-1930s se­cured a job with band­leader Gene Kardos. She also ap­peared on NBCs Children’s Hour.

Wain spent time as a mem­ber of Ted Straeter’s Choir be­fore form­ing her own vo­cal group, Bea and the Bachelors. The Bachelors con­sisted of Al Rinker, Ken Lane, and John Smedberg. The quar­tet per­formed on Fred Waring’s ra­dio pro­gram as part of the vo­cal group V-8, a com­bined ef­fort with the Modernaires, be­fore join­ing Kay Thompson in 1937, where they formed part of Thompson’s Rhythm Singers.[1]

Later that same year, while she and the Bachelors were work­ing on Kate Smith’s ra­dio show, band­leader Larry Clinton of­fered Wain a job in his newly-formed or­ches­tra based solely on the strength of an eight-bar solo he had heard her sing on Thompson’s ra­dio pro­gram. She ac­cepted and quickly emerged as the band’s star at­trac­tion, singing on their biggest hits.

Wain stayed with Clinton only a year-and-a-half be­fore de­cid­ing to go solo in May 1939. She landed a spot on the Your Hit Parade ra­dio pro­gram that August, re­main­ing there for two years be­fore ap­pear­ing on Manhattan Merry-Go-Round. She then re­turned to Your Hit Parade in July 1943 and also be­gan singing on Your All-Time Hit Parade that August, re­main­ing on both un­til the fol­low­ing year. She made the cover of Billboard mag­a­zine’s October 16, 1943 is­sue.

Wain recorded sev­eral ti­tles on Victor and Bluebird un­der her own name and re­ceived much crit­i­cal ac­claim, though she only man­aged to chart one song. The record­ing ban of 1942 marked the end of her com­mer­cial record­ing ca­reer. She con­tin­ued to sing, per­form, and ap­pear on ra­dio, how­ever, through­out the 1940s, of­ten with her hus­band, ra­dio an­nouncer André Baruch.

In December 1946, Wain joined Baruch as disk jockey on New York sta­tion WMCA with a daily pro­gram ti­tled Mr. and Mrs. Music, where they in­ter­viewed ma­jor record­ing stars of the day. The pop­u­lar show ended in April 1949 when WMCA switch its em­pha­sis to sports. The cou­ple later moved to Florida and even­tu­ally set­tled in Beverly Hills dur­ing the late 1970s.

Notes

  1. Wain also recorded If It’s the Last Thing I Do” with Artie Shaw in 1937, on which she was cred­ited as Beatrice Wayne. This has led many sources to in­cor­rectly cite Wayne as her last name. She has in­di­cated in an in­ter­view that Wain is the cor­rect spelling.

Music

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  • Jubilee
    Larry Clinton (Bea Wain), Victor (1937)
  • Over the Rainbow
    Larry Clinton (Bea Wain), Victor (1938)
  • Martha
    Larry Clinton (Bea Wain), Victor (1938)
  • Kiss the Boys Goodbye
    Bea Wain, Victor (1941)

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Films

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  • Screenshot
    "Heart and Soul"
    Larry Clinton (Bea Wain)
    Warner Brothers (1939)

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Sources

  1. Simon, George T. The Big Bands. 4th ed. New York: Schirmer, 1981.
  2. “Bea Wain.” IMDb. Accessed 11 Oct. 2015.
  3. “Radio Jottings.” The Milwaukee Sentinel 11 Feb. 1938: 4-R.
  4. “Clubs Set Shows Atlantic City Despite Dim-Out.” Billboard 4 Jul. 1942: 11.
  5. “Bea Wain.” Billboard 16 Oct. 1943: 4.
  6. “Too Short for a Head.” Billboard 23 Nov. 1946: 11.
  7. Gaver, Jack. “Broadway.” Beaver Valley Times [Beaver, PA] 11 May, 1948: n. pag.
  8. “WMCA to Switch Accent to Sports, Revamp Music.” Billboard 19 Mar. 1949: 6.