You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Harry Babbitt

Kay Kyser orchestra lead vocalist

Harry Babbitt, the Kay Kyser orchestra lead vocalist who sang on such Kyser hits as “Three Little Fishies,” “On A Slow Boat to China” and “Who Wouldn’t Love You,” died in Aliso Viejo, Calif. April 9 of natural causes. He was 90.

Babbitt supplied a comic high voice in “Three Little Fishies,” sung with Kyser female lead singer Ginny Simms, trumpet player-comedian Ish Kabibble and sax player-singer Sully Mason.

Babbitt’s high baritone voice — a little-girl voice dubbed “Little Audrey” — was featured on several other Kyser band songs, and he later used it on a solo recording of “All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth,” for which he included a lisp.

As part of the Kyser band, Babbitt also appeared in seven movies that starred Kyser. Babbitt was a radio and nightclub performer in his native St. Louis when Kyser’s band arrived on tour. Babbitt auditioned and joined the Kyser band on tour in 1938. For many years, the Kyser band opened the summer season at the Casino on Catalina Island.

The band was based in Hollywood during World War II, and when not touring, it played nearly every weekend at the Hollywood Canteen, the USO club where stars and starlets volunteered to entertain servicemen.

By the time the band disbanded in 1949, Babbitt was hosting “The Second Cup of Coffee Club,” a popular 15-minute early morning radio show that ran for 10 years on CBS. A television pioneer, he hosted two long-running musical shows on KTLA-TV in Los Angeles: “Bandstand Review” and “Hollywood Opportunity.” He also hosted a short-lived musical show on NBC called “Glamour Girl.”

After the 1985 death of Kyser, an agent urged Babbitt to re-create the Kyser band and he toured the country with the new band. He stopped performing in the mid-1990s.

Babbitt is survived by his wife of 69 years, Betty; three sons; a brother; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Donations may be sent to the Harry Babbitt Memorial Fund, Boy Scouts of America, Orange County Council, 3590 Harbor Gateway N., Costa Mesa, CA 92626.

More Scene

  • Noah CentineoNickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards, Show,

    Kids’ Choice Awards 2019: JoJo Siwa, Noah Centineo Take on Bullying

    This year’s Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards was full of positivity and encouragement to be yourself. DJ Khaled, known for his upbeat mantras, hosted the 32nd annual awards ceremony alongside JoJo Siwa at USC’s Galen center. Siwa accepted the award for favorite social music star. Siwa said in her acceptance speech, “I get hated on every [...]

  • Tina KnowlesSoul of Nation: Art in

    Jay-Z, Tina Knowles Celebrate New 'Soul of a Nation' Exhibit at Broad Museum

    “This show is so important. I mean, it’s our history — and it’s a very important part of our journey,” Tina Knowles Lawson said about Friday night’s opening of the exhibition “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963 – 1983” at the Broad Museum in DTLA. “I’m just so impressed [...]

  • Jordan Peele'Us' film premiere, Arrivals, New

    Jordan Peele Explains the Meaning Behind the 'Us' Michael Jackson Reference

    Jordan Peele’s horror movie “Us” is filled with pop culture references, from “Jaws” to “Goonies.” But the most divisive might be right in his opening sequence. Warning, minor spoilers ahead. The movie about a couple (played by Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke) and their children being hunted and brutalized by a mysterious family that looks just [...]

  • Danielle Brooks'Ain't Too Proud - The

    How 'Orange Is the New Black' Star Danielle Brooks Became a Broadway Producer

    Danielle Brooks earned a Tony nomination when she made her Broadway debut as Sofia in the 2015 revival of “The Color Purple,” but now the “Orange Is the New Black” star is working behind the scenes as a producer on the new jukebox musical “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations.” “I [...]

  • Nick Offerman Amy Poehler

    'Parks and Recreation' Cast Talks Possibility of a Revival at 10th Anniversary Reunion

    For one night, Hollywood felt a little like Pawnee. The cast of NBC’s hit comedy “Parks and Recreation” reunited at PaleyFest on Thursday in honor of the show’s 10th anniversary. The whole Pawnee gang showed up: Amy Poehler, Chris Pratt, Aubrey Plaza, Nick Offerman, Aziz Ansari, Rob Lowe, Adam Scott, Rashida Jones, Retta, and Jim [...]

  • Andy CohenThe Shops and Restaurants at

    Andy Cohen to Receive Vito Russo Award at GLAAD Media Awards

    Mazel, Andy Cohen! Bravo’s late-night talk show host is set to receive the Vito Russo Award at the 30th annual GLAAD Media Awards on May 4 in New York City. Sarah Jessica Parker will present him with the award, which is named in honor of GLAAD founder Vito Russo. The annual award goes to openly [...]

  • Variety TV Summit Europe

    Variety TV Summit Europe Coming to London on June 13

    Variety’s TV Summit Europe will coincide with London Tech Week this year, returning to the city on June 13. The international conference will be held at the Royal Lancaster and is co-produced by global events company Informa’s KNect365 division, the world’s largest business-to-business organizer. The one-day summit will focus on the intersection of content and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content