Imogene Lynn, vocalist with big-band notables Ray McKinely and Artie Shaw, died Feb. 24 at her home in Lancaster, Calif. of respiratory failure and renal cancer. She was 80.
The Trenton, Mo., native began her professional career in 1940, singing with Emerson Gill and several “Society Bands” and working the nation tour circuit of luxury hotels and ballrooms.
In 1942, Lynn joined up with McKinley and recorded “Big Boy” and “Who Wouldn’t Love You” for Capitol Records. The songs made the top 20 hits, and two years later Lynn hooked up with Shaw. The two recorded the well-known “Accentuate the Positive” for RCA and toured military bases, theaters and dance pavilions together.
She later went on in to be the solo female vocalist for the MerryMacs, joining the three MacMichael brothers and pioneering trendy four-part contemporary harmony.
Lynn made lead vocal of the Starlighters in 1949 and expanded her career, performing freelance session for commercials, soundtrack vocals, motion picture studio chorus calls, and appearing regularly on the “Tennessee Enrie Ford Show.” The chantoosie was also a backup vocalist for notables Nat King Cole, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Jo Stafford and Mickey Rooney.
From 1947-1967 Lynn dubbed vocals for silver screen starlets like Mona Freeman in “Mother Wore Tights” and “Isn’t It Romantic,” Loretta Young in “Mother Was a Freshman,” and Leslie Parish in “Li’l Abner.” Lynn also appeared in several pics singing and dancing, most notably in “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” with Marilyn Monroe.
Lynn moved to Los Angeles in 1942 with her former husband Mahlon Clark, a well-known Jazz warbler and studio clarinetist. She is survived by three children and four grandchildren.
Donations in her name may be sent to the Society of Singers, Attn: Administration, 6500 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 640, Los Angeles 90048.