‘Gay ’90s’ Singer Beatrice Kay Dies of a Stroke at 79
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Beatrice Kay, the husky-voiced ″Gay Nineties″ singer whose ″Mention My Name in Sheboygan″ sold 12 million copies, has died of a stroke at age 79, her conservator said.
Miss Kay died Saturday at the North Hollywood convalescent home where she lived, said Dale Olson, her conservator since a partially disabling stroke eight years ago.
She began singing 1890s songs while appearing at Billy Rose’s Diamond Horseshoe nightclub in New York in 1939, and her repertoire of such numbers became her trademark, earning her the nickname ″Gay ’90s Girl.″
Miss Kay became synonymous with such songs as ″Strawberry Blonde,″ ″Only a Bird in a Gilded Cage,″ ″Oceana Roll″ and ″Mention My Name in Sheboygan″ - a song which alone sold 12 million copies for Columbia Records. In all, she recorded a dozen records for Columbia and RCA.
She starred in a television series, ″The Beatrice Kay Show,″ which replaced Fred Allen one year, and starred for several years in CBS’ ″Gay Nineties Hour.″
Her film credits include appearing with Betty Grable in the 1945 film ″Diamond Horseshoe,″ and a starring role alongside Cliff Robertson in the 1960 movie ″Underworld U.S.A″
Miss Kay also appeared in such TV shows as ″Bonanza,″ ″Hawaiian Eye″ and ″The Comedy Hour,″ and on variety shows starring Rosemary Clooney, Milton Berle and Steve Allen.
Born Hannah Beatrice Kuper on April 21, 1907, in New York City, Miss Kay was encouraged to perform at an early age by her parents, who were involved in theater production.
One of Las Vegas’ first headliners, she performed at numerous hotels and for many years ran her own guest ranch, the Lazy B.K., outside Reno, Nev.
Miss Kay, who married and divorced four times, left no survivors, Olson said.