Vocalist Eugenie Baird grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and got her first professional break singing on local radio station KDKA while still in high school. Tony Pastor picked her as his female vocalist in 1941 after she sent him a picture and a recording of her voice. She left Pastor in late 1942 for Jan Savitt and then in early 1943 joined Glen Gray’s Casa Loma Orchestra. Baird’s sister, Kay Marie, was also a vocalist, singing with Mal Hallett in 1941. Both Eugenie and Kay Marie auditioned for the Casa Loma Orchestra at the same time, with Eugenie winning the position.
Baird left Gray in November 1944 to become a regular on Bing Crosby’s radio program, spending a year there before getting her own program on the Mutual Network in 1946. She then went to work on Paul Whiteman’s show that same year. Baird was Whiteman’s go-to vocalist throughout the rest of that decade when he needed someone for a performance. Baird also worked the theater circuit as a solo act.
Baird recorded with both Pastor and Casa Loma but not with Savitt, as her time with his group coincided with the American Federation of Musician’s recording ban. She also recorded two sides solo backed by Mel Torme and the Mel-Tones on Decca in 1945. She recorded on the Hi-Tone label in 1949.
In 1947 and 1948, Baird appeared on Broadway in Angel in the Wings and then toured the country as the lead in South Pacific. She also made several appearances on radio and television in the late 1940s and early 1950s and had her own radio program on the Mutual network again in 1952-1953. In that same period, she recorded with such artists as Art Mooney, Meredith Willson, Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington and released her own solo work. She was also popular for singing commercial jingles on television.
Baird remained active singing through the 1950s, spending a year in England during the middle part of that decade. She retired in 1962 when she married Emerson “Bud” Mead, president of Smith-Corona, famous for their typewriters. Mead died in 1976. Eugenie Baird passed away from heart failure in 1988.