Georgia Carroll

Photo of Georgia Carroll
  • Born

    November 18, 1919
    Blooming Grove, Texas
  • Died

    (age 91)
    January 14, 2011
  • Orchestras

    Kay Kyser

Beautiful Georgia Carroll was America’s top model in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Her im­age graced the cover of nu­mer­ous mag­a­zines as well as the pages in­side them. In 1941, tal­ent scouts brought her to Hollywood and put her un­der con­tract to Warner Brothers, though the stu­dio never fig­ured out how to prop­erly use her. She ap­peared in sev­eral films, mainly in un­cred­ited roles. In 1942, she made a soundie for RCM, singing When the Roses Bloom Again” with Buddy Clark.

In 1943, Kay Kyser asked the stu­dio for two pretty girls to ac­com­pany his band dur­ing an army camp show. Warner Brothers as­signed Carroll as one of the women. While on the re­turn trip, Kyser heard Carroll sing and in­vited her to be part of his camp shows as a reg­u­lar, which she ac­cepted. When vo­cal­ist Trudy Erwin left Kyser’s College of Musical Knowledge ra­dio pro­gram shortly there­after, he asked Carroll to take her place. Carroll ap­peared with the or­ches­tra in the RKO pic­ture Around the World that same year and be­came quite pop­u­lar with au­di­ences, earn­ing hon­or­able men­tion in Billboard mag­a­zine’s most pop­u­lar fe­male vo­cal­ist poll in 1944 and tak­ing fourth place in 1945.

Carroll and Kyser fell in love soon af­ter she joined the band. A pop­u­lar story of­ten goes that one night in 1944 the two were pulled over for speed­ing in Nevada. After in­tro­duc­ing them­selves, Kyser, who wanted to avoid a ticket, quickly made up a story that they were in a hurry to get mar­ried. Knowing that pub­lic­ity over the traf­fic stop would soon catch up to them, they de­cided it was best to find a Justice of the Peace and marry that night, in or­der to avoid neg­a­tive press. But ac­cord­ing to Carroll, We were play­ing a show in the desert for the ser­vice men. Kay was sup­posed to be headed for Los Angeles but headed for Nevada be­cause that was the only place to get mar­ried in a hurry. I knew where he was go­ing but just hoped I was do­ing the right thing. The story about wor­ry­ing over the press catch­ing wind of the speed­ing ticket is not true.”[1]

Carroll and Kyser re­mained to­gether un­til his death in 1985. She re­tired from show busi­ness at the end of 1946 to raise a fam­ily, the cou­ple even­tu­ally set­tling in North Carolina. Georgia Carroll passed away in 2011, age 91.

Notes

  1. Special thanks to Trevor Kyser-Carr and Georgia Carroll for set­ting the story straight.

Music

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  • Ma, He's Making Eyes at Me Again
    Kay Kyser (Georgia Carroll), Radio (1944)
  • There Goes That Song Again
    Kay Kyser (Georgia Carroll), Columbia (1945)

All recordings are from the Internet Archive's 78rpm collection. Copyright owners, please see our removal policy.

Sources

  1. Simon, George T. The Big Bands. 4th ed. New York: Schirmer, 1981.
  2. Carroll, Georgia and Trevor Kyser-Carr, Email. Jun. 16, 2004
  3. “Artists' Favorite Model, Georgia Carroll, Works Hard Fame Lasts.” The Milwaukee Journal 1 Nov. 1939: 3.
  4. “Movie Machine Reviews.” Billboard 6 Jun. 1942: 67.
  5. “Correction.” Billboard 20 Jun. 1942: 76.
  6. “Picture Tie-Ups for Movie Machine Operators.” Billboard 3 Jul. 1943: 64.
  7. “Georgia Carroll Has Last Laugh on 'Wise Boys.'” St. Petersburg Times 7 May 1944: 39.
  8. “Kay Kyser Weds Georgia Carroll.” The Tuscaloosa News 9 Jun. 1944: 6.
  9. “They've Done It Again.” Billboard 21 Jul. 1945: 15.