Gerald Richard Jensen

Big band singer and actor

This article was updated at 9:00 p.m. PT on July 15, 2003.

Big band singer and actor Gerald Richard “Jerry” Jensen died Dec. 3, of respiratory failure after being in a coma for two weeks on. He was 87.

Rockford, Ill., native sang with the Five Notes dance band and was a WROK radio vocalist. His baritone voice carried him to entertaining troops in Australia with numerous big bands. But while in Australia, he contracted polio and was sent home to California, where he spent months recovering. There he settled down with his wife, Lila, in Fontana, Calif., and became a mail carrier while continuing to entertain. Once he retired, he focused again on, entertainment.

He went on to star in a Pasadena Playhouse rendition of “The Fantasticks,” starred in the feature “The Ghosts That Still Walk” and had roles in “Chaplin” and “Being There.” He also had roles in other features and appeared in television films such as “Death Car on the Freeway” and “Ebony, Ivory & Jade.” He additionally appeared in several docs and blurbs as well as the skein “The Jeffersons.”

At 85, he recorded the album “Stars Love,” with proceeds going to charity. He continued to perform even though he had become dependent on a wheelchair and had suffered several types of cancer.

He is survived by a daughter, Randee Jensen, a U Pictures associate producer of “American Me”; a son, Dirk Gerald Jensen, an engineer at the Palm Springs NBC affiliate; two grandchildren; a great-grandchild; and three siblings.

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