Tormé, Mel

Tormé, (Melvin Howard) Mel

(1925–  ) vocalist, composer, author; born in Chicago. He was involved in show business from age four, singing with the Coon-Sanders Orchestra in 1929 and Buddy Rogers in the early 1930s. He studied drums and songwriting while acting in radio soap operas between 1934–40. His first song, "Lament to Love," was recorded by Harry James in 1941. "The Christmas Song" and "Born to be Blue" are among his other songs. In 1942–43, he sang and played drums with Chico Marx, then led his own vocal group, the Mel-Tones, in California until 1947. Thereafter, as the epitome of Cool School jazz singers, he toured as a headlining concert performer and recorded a string of hit records throughout the 1950s. He also appeared as an actor in numerous dramatic television series. He is the author of biographies of Judy Garland and Buddy Rich, and an autobiography, It Wasn't All Velvet.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.