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Frances Langford

Civilian

From 1941, Langford was a regular singer on Bob Hope's The Pepsodent Show[3] when he held his first military entertainment program at March Field in Riverside, California in 1941. The show was so positive, he continued broadcasting from training bases around the country and asked Langford to join him.

During World War II, she joined Hope, Jerry Colonna, guitarist Tony Romano, and other performers on U.S.O. tours through Europe, North Africa, and the South Pacific, entertaining thousands of G.I.'s throughout the world. During a USO tour in the Pacific theater she was invited to take a ride in a P-38 fighter plane. During the flight, a Japanese ship was spotted and the joy ride was postponed until the pilot finished strafing the ship.[dubious – discuss]

In his memoir, 'Don't Shoot! It's Only Me!', Bob Hope recalled how Frances Langford got the biggest laugh he had ever heard. At a U.S.O. show in the South Pacific, Langford stood up on a stage to sing before a huge crowd of G.I.'s. When Langford sang the first line of her signature song, "I'm in the Mood for Love," a soldier in the audience stood up and shouted, "You've come to the right place, honey!"

Also, during the war, Langford wrote the weekly "Purple Heart Diary" column for Hearst Newspapers, in which she described her visits to military hospitals to entertain wounded G.I.'s. She used the weekly column as a means of allowing the recovering troops to voice their complaints, and to ask for public support for making sure that the wounded troops received all the supplies and comforts they needed.

Her association with Hope continued into the 1980s. In 1989 she joined him for a USO tour to entertain troops in the Persian Gulf.

Service

People

  • Bob Hope

    Civilian
    Bob Hope is an Anglo-American Comedian. He embarked on USO Tours 1941 to entertain the troops and continued to perform for the USO in Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran and the Persian Gulf War until 1991. During the Second World War he toured Army...

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Events

Event Location Date
Born Hernando, FL, USA 4 April 1913

Her full name was Julia Frances Langford

USO Show London, UK 26 June 1943

US Army HQ

USO Show Molesworth, Huntingdon PE28, UK 18 July 1943

Appeared with Bob Hope

USO Show Burtonwood, UK 28 August 1943

Appeared with Bob Hope

Died Jensen Beach, FL 34957, USA 11 July 2005

MIAMI -- Frances Langford, whose steamy rendition of "I'm in the Mood for Love" captivated soldiers when she was part of Bob Hope's USO tours during World War II, died Monday at the age of 92.

Langford had been ill with congestive heart failure and died at her home in Jensen Beach, said her lawyer, Evans Crary Jr.

Langford, a recording artist, radio star and actress from the 1930s to 1950s, joined Hope's troupe to boost wartime morale at military bases and hospitals in Great Britain, Italy, North Africa and the South Pacific. She also entertained new generations of soldiers in Korea and Vietnam.

Even with her hair swept up in a bandanna, the 5-foot-1 singer was a glamorous vision of home and became known as the "Sweetheart of the Fighting Fronts."

Her trademark was "I'm in the Mood for Love," written for her for the 1935 movie "Every Night at Eight."

Langford appeared in 30 Hollywood movies, including "Broadway Melody," "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and "The Hit Parade." She played herself in her final film, 1954's "The Glenn Miller Story."

She was also known for her role as the insufferable wife, Blanche, opposite Don Ameche on the popular 1940s radio comedy "The Bickersons."

She recalled in interviews decades later that entertaining the troops "was the greatest thing in my life."

"We were there just to do our job, to help make them laugh and be happy if they could," Langford told The Associated Press in January 2002.

"She was a charming person, very warm-hearted," said Crary, who had known her for more than 70 years. "She was very interested in other people and appreciative of their interest in her."

Born in Citrus County in April 1913 and raised in Lakeland, Langford was discovered by bandleader Rudy Vallee when he was in Florida for a performance, and he invited her to be a guest on his radio program.

After a brief stint in the Broadway musical "Here Goes the Bride" in 1931, she moved to Hollywood, where she appeared on Louella Parsons' radio show "Hollywood Hotel" and began to appear in movies.

She was singing on Hope's "Pepsodent Show" when he held his first military program at March Field in Riverside, Calif., in 1941. The response was so positive he continued broadcasting from training bases and asked Langford to join him. Soon there were enough soldiers overseas to bring his variety show to them.

Langford wrote a daily newspaper column, "Purple Heart Diary," about her war experiences and later starred in a movie of the same name.

Her first marriage was to actor Jon Hall, who appeared in films such as "The Hurricane" and "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves."

After World War II, she was singing in nightclubs when she met outboard motor heir Ralph Evinrude. They married in 1955 and moved to her 400-acre estate in Jensen Beach, 100 miles north of Miami.

The couple built a Polynesian-themed restaurant and marina on the Indian River called the Outrigger Resort. She entertained locals and celebrities, including Hope, until Evinrude died in 1986 and she sold the property.

Langford kept up her pastimes of boating and sport fishing and her collection of mounted tuna, marlin and other fish adorns the wall of the Florida Oceanographic Society's visitor center in nearby Stuart that is named after her.

In 1994, she married Harold Stuart, assistant secretary of the Air Force under Harry Truman. They spent summers on Canada's Georgian Island, traveling from Florida aboard her 110-foot yacht.

She is survived by her husband. She had no children.

Revisions

Date Contributor Update
30 November 2016 05:17:11 466thHistorian Changes to events
Sources

http://www.legacy.com/Obituaries.asp?Page=LifeStory&PersonId=14520652

Date Contributor Update
30 November 2016 04:57:35 466thHistorian Created entry with surname, middlename, firstname, nickname, nationality, biography, events, person associations and media associations
Sources

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frances_Langford

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