Obituaries in the News
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Harry Babbitt, who sang in his warm, high-baritone voice with the Kay Kyser big band on such hits as ``The White Cliffs of Dover″ and who voiced the laugh of Woody Woodpecker, died April 9 at the age of 90.
Babbitt, of Newport Beach, died of old age in a nursing home, said his son Michael.
Babbitt sang with the Kyser band from 1938 to about 1949 but also served in the Navy from 1944 to 1946.
Dubbed ``Handsome Harry″ by Kyser, Babbitt sang on several hits, including ``Three Little Fishies,″ ``On A Slow Boat to China,″ ``(Lights Out) `Til Reveille,″ ``He Wears a Pair of Silver Wings,″ ``Jingle, Jangle, Jingle″ and ``The Umbrella Man.″
Babbitt’s high voice was later used on a solo recording of ``All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth,″ for which he included a lisp. He was even responsible for the laugh on ``Woody Woodpecker,″ Kyser’s 1948 hit novelty tune.
Babbitt also appeared in seven movies that starred Kyser and was featured on ``Kay Kyser’s Kollege of Musical Knowledge,″ a popular comedy-musical radio quiz show on NBC.
Babbitt retired from show business in 1964 and started a successful career in real estate.
After Kyser died in 1985, Babbitt obtained rights to the band’s name and catalog from Kyser’s widow and toured the country with a new band. He stopped performing in the mid-1990s.