Best remembered today for her work with Bob Crosby, Marion Mann initially made her name with Emerson Gill’s northeast territorial band. Mann, who was described as a “Cleveland debutante,” joined Gill by February 1933 when she became the first female singer to appear at a Penn State dance. In her early years, Gill billed her as “the great blues singer,” and in 1936 one reviewer proclaimed her “the vocalist to make the most strides in the past few years.” Mann also appeared with Gill’s orchestra on radio, remaining with the band until mid-1937, when she left for Ted Lewis.
By May 1938, Mann had become part of Crosby’s orchestra, joining the band during its long run at the Blackhawk in Chicago. Popular with critics and audiences, she made her first recordings with Crosby and earned a solo spot on radio program Rhythm at Noon over CBS station WBBM.
In February 1939, the Crosby band also hired Dorothy Claire as a singer while still retaining Mann, beginning a brief tradition of keeping two female vocalists on staff at the same time. Claire only sang during live performances and handled the group’s wilder numbers, while Mann stuck to ballads and appeared on the band’s recordings and radio show.
When the Crosby band finally left the Blackhawk to go on the road in May 1939, Mann decided to remain in Chicago and marry tennis pro Jack Macy. She briefly retired from singing but returned to show business in January 1940, rejoining Crosby at the Blackhawk. She remained until May, when she left to focus on radio work. Doris Day replaced her in the Crosby band.
Mann spent the next four years appearing as a regular on various NBC programs broadcast out of Chicago, including Weekend Cruise and Roy Shields and Company in 1941, the Garry Moore Show and Blues Club Matinee in 1942, and the Breakfast Club in 1944. In 1943, she made a screen test for an unknown studio. By 1945, Mann was on CBS, where she appeared on Sweetheart Time over WGN. That year she also recorded with Jose Bethancourt’s latin band on the Musicraft label. In 1946, she recorded with former fellow-Crosby bandmate Bob Haggart’s orchestra on Vogue. She made her last radio appearances that same year and then vanished into the fog of musical history.