Appeared with big bands, on stage, TV

Singer and actress Milly Ericson, who appeared with big bands including Tommy Dorsey’s, as well as on TV, in film and onstage, died Dec. 13 in Los Angeles as a result of a traffic accident. She was 83.

Milly Coury was born in Detroit and began her professional singing career with local bands in the late 1940s. She traveled with big bands such as those of Tommy Dorsey, Ray Anthony and Ralph Flanagan and the Chuck Foster Orchestra. In 1945, just out of high school and prior to joining the big band circuit, she took flying lessons and soloed in a Piper J-3, a single engine aircraft.

Later she was under contract at CBS’ WBBM Chicago, appearing as a regular on the radio station’s daily breakfast show, music variety shows and on the “TV Luncheon Show.”

A recording contract with Decca brought her to California, where she was hired as the singer on Oscar Levant’s TV show “Words About Music.”

Ericson auditioned for Hal Prince in the early 1970s and won the role of Susan in the national tour of Stephen Sondheim’s “Company,” starring with Elaine Stritch and George Chakiris. She also headlined in various nightclubs engagements at Ye Little Club, the Beverly Hilton, Harrah’s in Tahoe and Reno.

Ericson remained active as a performer into the 1990s, guesting on TV series including “The John Larroquette Show” and “Coach,” appearing on the bigscreen in 1999′s “Crazy in Alabama” and doing commercials.

In the 1980s she also established a photo-retouching business with clients including CBS soap operas “The Bold and the Beautiful” and “The Young and the Restless” as well as both aspiring performers and celebrities.

She is survived by daughter Nicole, a commercial and infomercial writer, and son Brett, a voiceover artist. As a tribute to her love of flying and patriotism, a “missing man formation” flyover by WWII-era fighter aircraft was performed at the private memorial service on Dec. 24.

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