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Helen O'Connell (1920 - 1993)


Helen O'Connell was born in Lima, Ohio, and is best remembered for her role as female vocalist in the Jimmy Dorsey band (1939-1943). It was there that she and Bob Eberly gained fame with a number of Dorsey, tempo-switching, hit records including “Amapola,” “Green Eyes,” “Yours,” and “Tangerine.” In 1943, playing themselves, they introduced the jazz standard “Star Eyes” in the film I Dood It.

Despite her limited range, she was very popular, winning the 1940 Metronome magazine poll for best female vocalist. In 1943 she retired from show business to start a family which resulted in four daughters. When her marriage ended in 1951 O’Connell began a solo career which included a number of successful recordings on the Victor label and even her own television show.

-- Sandra Burlingame

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