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Hubert Prior Vallée , better known as Rudy Vallée (July 28, 1901 – July 3, 1986) was a popular American musician, singer and actor. < / p>
Hubert Prior Vallée was born in Island Pond, in the state of Vermont, with his parents Charles Alphonse and Catherine Lynch Vallée, both children of immigrants of Canadian and Irish origin. Rudy grew up in Westbrook, Maine. In high school he learned to play the saxophone and was given the nickname “Rudy”, in allusion to the famous saxophonist Rudy Wiedoeft.
He played drums in his high school band, and in his youth he played clarinet and saxophone in various New England bands. In 1917, he wanted to enlist to fight in the First World War, but was rejected for not having more than fifteen years. However, he managed to enlist in Portland (Maine) on March 29, 1917, falsifying his date of birth. He graduated from the Naval Training Station in Newport (Rhode Island) on May 17, 1917, with only 41 days of active service, and between 1924 and 1925 he played with the “Savoy Havana Band” in London, England. He then returned to the United States to obtain a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and to form his own band, “Rudy Vallee and the Connecticut Yankees.” With this band, in which they played two violins, two saxophones, a piano, a banjo and drums, he began to sing. He had a more appropriate voice to sing sweet ballads than to play jazz songs. However, her singing, along with her pleasant appearance, attracted the attention of the public, especially the young. Vallee got a recording contract and in 1928 he started acting on the radio.
Vallee became the most important and, perhaps, the first of a new style of singers, the crooner, or ballad singer. In the pre-microphone era, singers needed powerful voices to make themselves heard in theaters. However, the crooners had soft voices, very suitable for the intimacy of the new medium of radio. Vallee’s phrasing in the song “Deep Night” would later inspire crooners from the Bing Crosby category, Frank Sinatra and Perry Como to model their voice to the beat of jazz instruments.
Vallee also became what was perhaps the first example of a pop star with great repercussion in the media. The flappers (predecessors of the fanes), harassed him wherever he went. Tickets for their live performances were exhausted and could barely be heard in them, since at that time there was no appropriate acoustic technology.
In 1929 Vallee starred in his first film, The Vagabond Lover (RKO Radio). His first films were thought to raise taking advantage of his popularity. Although his initial performances were not good, his acting skills in the late thirties and forties improved a lot. Also in 1929, Vallee began to present the radio program The Fleischmann’s Yeast Hour .
Vallee’s career in recording began in 1928, working for the “minor” labels of Columbia Records (Harmony, Velvet Tone, and Diva), marketed in department stores. He signed with Victor Records in February 1929, and stayed with the company until December 1931, when he recorded for the record label Hit Of The Week, very famous, although short-lived. In August of 1932, he signed with Columbia, with which he stayed until 1933, year in which he recorded again with Victor. His recordings were first released on the new record label Bluebird Records, under Victor, until November 1933. He continued with Victor until he was hired by ARC in 1936, which released his recordings on the labels Perfect Records, Melotone, Conqueror and Romeo Records until 1937 , year in which he returned to Victor.
Vallee continued to present variety radio programs during the 1930s and 1940s. In his The Fleischmann’s Yeast Hour program several film interpreters of the time, such as Fay Wray and Richard Cromwell, took part in the numbers dramatic.
Along with his band, The Connecticut Yankees, Vallee’s best-known recordings include: “The Stein Song” at the beginning of the decade, and “Vieni, Vieni” in the 1930s. It should be noted that Vallee sang correctly in three Mediterranean languages, and the tone always varied, anticipating the way for later singers such as Dean Martin, Andy Williams and Vic Damone. Another of its great interpretations was “Life Is Just A Bowl of Cherries”, in which it imitated the voice of Willie Howard in the final choir.
Vallee’s last significant success was the version of the melancholy ballad “As Time Goes By”, from the soundtrack of Casablanca in 1943. During the Second World War and until 1944, Vallee performed with the Coast Guard Band, [appointment required] entertaining the troops.
When Vallee took the annual vacation on his radio program in 1936, he insisted to his sponsor to hire Louis Armstrong as his substitute [appointment required]. That same year, Vallee wrote the prologue to Armstrong’s book “Swing That Music.” In 1937 Vallee attended the Suffolk University Law School in Boston, Massachusetts.
Vallee acted in numerous Hollywood films in the thirties and forties. One of his best roles was that of playboy millionaire, along with Claudette Colbert in the 1942 film directed by Preston Sturges, The Palm Beach Story. His other outstanding performances were those he did in I Remember Mama, Unfaithfully Yours and The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (The Bachelor and the Younger).
In 1955, Vallee was chosen to perform in Gentlemen Marry Brunettes (The Knights Marry the Brunettes), along with Jane Russell, Alan Young, and Jeanne Crain. The production was filmed in Paris, and was based on the novel by Anita Loos sequel to Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes). Gentlemen Marry Brunettes was very popular in Europe, and premiered in France as A Paris Pour les Quatre, and in Belgium as Tevieren Te Parijs.
In his maturity, Vallee’s voice evolved to that of a baritone. He performed on Broadway in the show How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and in the film of the same name. He also starred in the 1960s television series Batman, playing “Lord Marmaduke Ffog.” He also toured with a show in which he performed alone in the 1980s. Occasionally he opened the Village People’s show.
He was briefly married to the actress Jane Greer, in a marriage that ended in divorce in 1944. His previous wife was Leonie Cuachois, being his marriage annulled. He was also married to Fay Webb, from whom he divorced. His last marriage was with Eleanor Norris in 1946, who wrote some memoirs, My Vagabond Lover. This union lasted until the death of Vallee in 1986, at 84 years of age, because of cancer. He was buried at St. Hyacinth Cemetery in Westbrook, Maine.
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