Singer, actress and composer Kay Armen died in New York on Oct. 3 after a short illness. She was 95.
During a show business career that spanned almost six decades, Armen worked in radio, television, onstage and in film. She also performed in nightclubs and cut records.
Armenuhi Manoogian, known as “Charmin’ Kay Armen” during her carrer, was born in Chicago to Armenian parents; her father was a professional wrestler known as the Terrible Turk, and her brother became a professional wrestler known as Bobby Managoff.
On radio, Armen starred on the Bert Parks-hosted hit quizshow “Stop the Music” and on “Life With Luigi.” Playwright William Saroyan and her cousin, Ross Bagdasarian (creator of the Chipmunks), wrote “Come on-a My House” for Armen, and Rosemary Clooney later recorded the song.
On TV, she starred in the brief NBC 1959 sitcom “Love and Marriage,” with William Demarest, and appeared repeatedly on Ray Bolger’s “Washington Square.” She also guested on talk and variety shows including “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” “The Ed Sullivan Show,” “The Merv Griffin Show” and “The Mike Douglas Show.”
Armen made her bigscreen debut in the 1955 MGM musical “Hit the Deck,” starring Vic Damone, Debbie Reynolds, Tony Martin, Jane Powell and Ann Miller. A clip from the film’s finale, in which Armen sings “Hallelujah,” was featured in “That’s Entertainment!”
Armen also appeared in the 1961 film “Hey, Let’s Twist!” and later in life had supporting roles in the 1980 CBS telepic “Jimmy B. & Andre” and in the 1981 comedy “Paternity,” starring Burt Reynolds.
Song she compsosed included “Be Good to Yourself,” “My Love and I” and “It’s a Sin to Cry Over You.”