aka Marianne Dunne

Photo of Marianne

Blonde singer Marianne Dunne worked for a variety of bands during the 1940s, billed only be her first name during the early part of the decade. Born in Michigan, Dunne grew up in Akron, Ohio, where she spent her high school years singing on local radio. When bandleader Horace Heidt came to the city during her senior year in early 1940, she auditioned for his orchestra but didn’t win the job. Trumpet player Bobby Hackett was part of Heidt’s band at the time and liked her voice. He gave her an introduction letter to Jack Teagarden, who was also in town and in need of a singer, and Teagarden made her an offer.[1] Soon after joining Teagarden’s orchestra in April 1940, Dunne began to be billed simply as Marianne, without a last name.[2]

Marianne didn’t stay long with Teagarden’s band, leaving in September 1940, said to be down with appendicitis.[3] She rejoined Teagarden in April 1941, remaining until July when she left for Will Osborne’s orchestra. While with Osborne, she became engaged to the band’s drummer, Dick Shannahan. It’s unknown if they married. Dunne left Osborne in July 1942, per “doctor’s orders,” replaced by Lorraine Benson. She returned the following month and remained with the band until August 1943. When the band left the Park Avenue Club in Miami Beach that month, Dunne stayed behind as a single. She was back with Osborne again in March 1944 for at least that one month.

In January 1945, Marianne joined Sonny Dunham’s orchestra. After the band went through a grueling series of one-nighters during the latter half of that year, both she and male singer Tommy Randall left at the first of December, tired of the grind. After exiting Dunham, Marianne began to use her last name in billing again. At some point, she joined Herbie Fields’ orchestra, leaving in October 1946 for Charlie Ventura’s outfit.[4] She remained with Ventura for at least that month. From March to May 1947, she sang and served as mistress of ceremonies at the Casino Royal club in Washington, D.C.

At some time after May 1947, Marianne sang with Frankie Carle before joining Ted Weems in September 1948. She quit Weems in December of that year after marrying musician Bill Conrad in Santa Monica. She then disappears from history, presumably retiring after her marriage.[5]


  1. Teagarden had just lost Kitty Kallen. ↩︎

  2. It’s unknown if the first-name-only billing was Teagarden’s idea or Dunne’s. ↩︎

  3. Whether she actually had appendicitis or not is unknown. Appendicitis was a common generic reason given for female singers when they were sick and they didn’t want the real cause to be public knowledge. ↩︎

  4. Dunne recorded with Ventura on National Records. The label misspelled her last name as “Dunn.” ↩︎

  5. It’s difficult to research someone who went only by a common first name. There were numerous singers named Marianne in the 1940s, and at least one other of them went only by her first name as well. There were also other performers at that time who went by the singular name Marianne, including a dancer, a stripper, and a headless girl in a sideshow. To further add complications, there was a popular song of the period called “Marianne” that was recorded by dozens of artists. ↩︎


  1. “Orchestra Notes.” Billboard 13 Apr. 1940: 20.
  2. “Secret is Out! Kitty's Hitched.” Down Beat 15 Apr. 1940: 1.
  3. “Orchestra Notes.” Billboard 20 Apr. 1940: 10.
  4. Jovien, Harold. “8-Note Scale is On the Way Out.” Down Beat 15 May 1940: 6.
  5. Kilgallen, Dorothy. “The Voice of Broadway.” Mansfield News-Journal [Mansfield, Ohio] 5 Jul. 1940: 13.
  6. “On the Stand: Jack Teagarden.” Billboard 27 Jul. 1940: 12.
  7. “Jack Teagarden's.” Down Beat 1 Aug. 1940: 24.
  8. “Orchestra Notes.” Billboard 7 Sep. 1940: 18.
  9. “Charlie Tea Joins Brother.” Down Beat 1 Oct. 1940: 2.
  10. “Quigley for Feller in Teagarden Ork.” Down Beat 1 May 1941: 20.
  11. “'I Never Walked Out on My Band!' Says Will Osborne.” Down Beat 15 Nov. 1941: 3.
  12. “Vaudeville Reviews: Strand, New York.” Billboard 3 Jan. 1942: 24.
  13. “On the Stand: Will Osborne.” Billboard 30 May 1942: 25.
  14. “Vaudeville Reviews: Edgewater Beach Hotel, Marine Dining Room, Chicago.” Billboard 23 May 1942: 13.
  15. “Profiling the Players: Will Osborne's Band.” Down Beat 1 Jun. 1942: 11.
  16. No Title. Billboard 1 Aug. 1942: 20.
  17. “Orchestra Notes.” Billboard 29 Aug. 1942: 21.
  18. “Vaudeville Reviews: Earle, Philadelphia.” Billboard 31 Oct. 1942: 17.
  19. “On the Air: Will Osborne.” Billboard 20 Feb. 1943: 22.
  20. “Vaudeville Reviews: State, New York.” Billboard 20 Mar. 1943: 16.
  21. “New Osborne Chirp.” Down Beat 15 Aug. 1943: 6.
  22. “Vaudeville Reviews: Capitol, New York.” Billboard 18 Mar. 1944: 25.
  23. “Vaudeville Reviews: Loew's State, New York.” Billboard 1 Apr. 1944: 25.
  24. “Where Is?” Down Beat 15 Aug. 1944: 10.
  25. “Sonny Changes His Vocal Dept.” Down Beat 1 Dec. 1945: 1.
  26. “Big Band May Set New Era For 52 St.” Down Beat 7 Oct. 1946: 3.
  27. “On the Stand: Charlie Ventura.” Billboard 9 Nov. 1946: 35.
  28. MacArthur, Harry. “After Dark.” The Washington, D.C., Evening Star 1 Apr. 1947: B-13.
  29. Advertisement. “Casino Royal.” The Washington, D.C., Evening Star 1 May. 1947: A-21.
  30. “Strictly Ad Lib.” Down Beat 8 Sep. 1948: 5.
  31. “On the Stand: Ted Weems.” Billboard 11 Dec. 1948: 20.
  32. Ronan, Eddie. “On the Sunset Vine.” Down Beat 15 Dec. 1948: 9.
  33. “Tied Notes.” Down Beat 29 Dec. 1948: 10.