Kaye Ballard

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Biography

Born: November 20, 1925; Cleveland, OH  
Born Catherine Gloria Balota, this vocalist got her start in show business from Spike Jones. She was working as an usher in 1946 when the madcap bandleader hired her right out of the theater to sing and do comic impressions as part of his stage show. Jones and his City Slickers were riding high during this period, having built up an enormous fan base through non-stop touring and a series of hit recordings. At each new stop on the road, there Read more would be local performers awaiting just such an audition. Most of them had plenty of musical talent, a prerequisite for work in this band with its complicated arrangements and split-second timing. But an additional talent of some kind other than just sheer musical technique was required. You had to be, well, weird in some way, or better yet, you had to be able to do something weird. In her case it was her quirky sense of humor and the crafty sense of timing that served her well throughout her career, and must have been immediately recognizable to a rhythmic genius such as Jones.

Eventually Ballard had a falling out with this bandleader, part of many changes in collaborators he went through in the late '40s. Her next assignments were more on the normal level, but just about anything would be after the City Slickers. She worked in the bands of Vaughan Monroe and Stan Kenton but really launched her career in the musical The Golden Apple. Her showcase number in this show was the John LaTouche song "Lazy Afternoon," which quickly became a standard. In 1954, Ballard was on the cover of Life magazine and later went on to star in Broadway shows including Oklahoma, Carnival, The Decline and Fall of the Entire World As Seen Through the Eyes of Cole Porter Revisited, and her two critically acclaimed one-woman shows: Kaye Ballard: Working 42nd Street At Last and Hey Ma, I'm Kaye Ballard, which received several dramatic award nominations. She is probably best known on television from the '60s show The Mothers-in-Law, in which she teamed up with the marvelous Eve Arden. A string of television and film appearances date back well before that, however. She began her television career in the early '50s as a regular on shows such as The Mel Tormé Show and Henry Morgan's Great Talent Hunt. Her film credits continued amassing from the '70s onward as she began picking up a good selection of available character roles for so-called "mature women." These films include The Modern Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Baby Geniuses and Fortune Hunters. In 2000 she began touring in a new musical based on the hit film The Full Monty. ~ Eugene Chadbourne Read less

There are 4 Kaye Ballard recordings available.

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