b. Ellen Jane Froman, 10 November 1911, St. Louis, Missouri, USA, d. 22 April 1980, Columbia, Missouri, USA. Raised in Columbia, Missouri, where her mother was head of music at the Christian College, Froman showed early musical promise. Educated at the College and later at the University of Missouri and the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, she began singing professionally while still in her teens. She was heard by Paul Whiteman, who placed her under contract. Froman made her Broadway debut in the Ziegfeld Follies Of 1934, and introduced E.Y. ‘Yip’ Harburg and Vernon Duke’s ‘Suddenly’ and ‘What Is There To Say?’ with Everett Marshall. In the same year she had her first hit record with ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’. Later in the decade and into the early 40s she made a name as a leading nightclub performer and was also a popular draw on the radio.
In 1943 she was on her way to Europe to sing for US servicemen when the aircraft in which she was travelling crashed at sea. Although severely injured, she was one of 14 survivors of the accident. Subsequently, she underwent numerous operations but despite pain and lasting disabilities, she returned to performing. Indeed, she rehearsed her return to the stage, in Artists And Models (1944), while still convalescing. In the 50s she had further record success with ‘I’ll Walk Alone’, ‘Wish You Were Here’, ‘I Believe’, and ‘Robe Of Cavalry’. She continued to tour, and recorded the soundtrack for a Hollywood biopic of her life, With A Song In My Heart (1952), in which Susan Hayward mimed to her singing. Froman also appeared on television, but by 1962 she had finally decided to retire.
With her distinctive, deep voice, Froman was one of the most popular singers on the New York scene and on the radio in the 30s. Her undoubted courage and determination made her comeback during the 40s especially noteworthy.