Marilyn Duke

Photo of Marilyn Duke

Vocalist Marilyn Duke had her own fifteen-minute radio program on the Mutual network in 1935 and 1936. She sang with both Shep Fields and Jolly Coburn in 1937 and with Mannie Gates in 1938 before joining Vaughn Monroe in January 1941, where she helped shape the band’s early sound. When she left Monroe in May 1943, her press agent sent out notices that she had joined the Women’s Army Air Corps, which many newspapers printed. Duke was actually in New York, trying her hand as a single.

In August 1943, Duke joined Will Osborne, where she remained until June 1944 when she started a ten-week solo appearance in Boston. She was back with Monroe the following month however. In November of that year, she provided vocals on Monroe’s first number one hit, “The Trolley Song,” which was also the first song recorded by Victor after the end of the American Federation of Musician’s recording ban. Duke was gone from Monroe’s orchestra soon after.

In September 1944, Duke married Boston amusement park owner Peter Brien. She also co-wrote the song “I’ll Love You Forever” with Teri Josefovits that same year. In the mid-1950s, Duke sang in Las Vegas.[1]


  1. Duke was active on the Boston music scene, though it’s unknown if she was a native of that city. The Boston College newspaper described her as “southern.” ↩︎


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  • Foolin' Myself
    Jolly Coburn (Marilyn Duke), Bluebird (1937)
  • G'Bye Now
    Vaughn Monroe (Marilyn Duke), RCA Victor (1941)
  • The Worm Who Loved the Little 'Tater-Bug'
    Vaughn Monroe (Marilyn Duke), RCA Victor (1941)
  • Yours
    Vaughn Monroe (Marilyn Duke), RCA Victor (1941)
  • Somebody Nobody Loves
    Vaughn Monroe (Marilyn Duke), RCA Victor (1942)
  • All I Need Is You
    Vaughn Monroe (Marilyn Duke), RCA Victor (1942)
  • Honey Dear
    Vaughn Monroe (Marilyn Duke), RCA Victor (1942)
  • The Trolley Song
    Vaughn Monroe (Vaughn Monroe, Marilyn Duke), RCA Victor (1944)

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


  1. Simon, George T. The Big Bands. 4th ed. New York: Schirmer, 1981.
  2. The Online Discographical Project. Accessed 10 Aug. 2016.
  3. “Radio Programs.” Chester Times [Chester, Pennsylvania] 9 Aug. 1935: 7.
  4. “Radio News and Programs.” The Findlay Republican-Courier [Findlay, Ohio] 29 Jul. 1936: 4.
  5. Callahan, Robert. “Tabloid.” The Boston College Heights 23 Apr. 1937: 2.
  6. “Night Club Reviews: Royal Palm Club, Miami.” Billboard 7 Aug. 1938: 12.
  7. “Vaughn Monroe Adds New Girl Vocalist.” Down Beat 1 Feb. 1941: 10.
  8. “In the Middle of 6 Sides.” Down Beat 15 Mar. 1941: 15.
  9. “Orchestra Personnels: Vaughn Monroe.” Down Beat 15 Mar. 1941: 17.
  10. Gum, Coburn. “On the Records.” St. Petersburg Times 11 May 1941: 10.
  11. “Strictly Ad Lib.” Down Beat 15 Jul. 1943: 11.
  12. “Phyllis Lynne with Vaughn Monroe Ork.” Billboard 7 Aug. 1943: 12.
  13. “New Osborne Chirp.” Down Beat 15 Aug. 1943: 6.
  14. Bliss, Helen. “Here's News Capsule of Highlighted Happenings Of Music World In 1943.” Down Beat 1 Jan. 1944: 3.
  15. “Music Grapevine.” Billboard 3 Jun. 1944: 13.
  16. “Marilyn Duke as Single.” Down Beat 15 Jun. 1944: 5.
  17. “Music Grapevine.” Billboard 22 Jul. 1944: 23.
  18. “Strictly Ad Lib.” Down Beat 1 Aug. 1944: 5.
  19. “Music Grapevine.” Billboard 9 Sep. 1944: 17.
  20. Winchell, Walter. “Walter Winchell.” The Sunday Spartansburg Herald-Journal 1 Oct. 1944: 4.
  21. “Trolley Song No. 1.” Billboard 18 Nov. 1944: 63.
  22. Mitchell, Jay Florian. Film negative portraits of Marilyn Duke at the Moulin Rouge, June 5, 1955. 1955, photograph, University of Las Vegas Nevada, Digital Collection, Las Vegas.