Lucky People : Monica Lewis©2008JCMarion


Monica Lewis was born in May of 1925. From an early age she develpoed an interest in music and voice and had an able teacher in her own mother. It was with her that she spent many hours studying inher desired vocation and to further her career opportunities she left college soon after enrolling to work as a radio vocalist for station WMCA in New York City. She progressed to singing co-host on a number of programs including "Beat The Band", and "The Chesterfield Hour". In late 1945 she came to the attention of Signature Records president Bob Thiele in New York City. Along with label musical director Ray Bloch, they made preparations for a recording session with Monica. That began a long succession of record releases for the label.

The first Signature side was "Day By Day" and "Stop I Love It" on Signature # 15009. Right after that initial pressing was "The Gentleman Couldn't Say Goodnight" and the Martin Block penned "Waiting For The Train" on # 15010. Next was "The House I Live In" and "The Whiffenpoof Song" on # 15013, followed by "I Have But One Heart" and "In Love In Vain" on # 15016, "Lucky People" and "You Are The One" on # 15025, "In A Blue And Sentimental Mood" and "I Got The Sun In The Morning" on # 15028", and "Should I Tell You" and "Put The Blame On Mame" on # 15029.

The parade of record releases with Signature Records continued, most with the orchestra under the direction of Ray Bloch. "Two Sleepy People" and "Why Does It Get Late So Early?" on # 150, was next followed by "The Cat And The Canary" and "Walking With My Shadow" on # 15042, "For You For Me Evermore" and "Au Revoir" on # 15046, "Sweet And Low" and "The Cradle Song" on # 15047, and "Without You" (from the Disney film "Make Mine Music") and a big broadway show tune "South America Take It Away" on # 15055. Another Disney related film song "Uncle Remus Said" and "A Rainy Night In Rio" was released by Signature on # 15060, and shortly thereafter came # 15063 with the songs "Makin' Whoopee" and "By The Light Of The Silvery Moon", followed by a cover of Ted Weems revitalized "Heartaches" and "What Am I Gonna Do?" on # 15065, and "We Could Make Such Beautiful Music Together" and "I'm Gonna Be A Bad Girl" on # 15068. There was also an album of four 78 rpm reords called "Little Stories For Little People" on Signature # 12007.

Further records for Signature included "I'm In The Mood For Love" and "Why Do I Love You?" on # 15072, "A Thousand And One Nights" and "Midnight Masquerade" on # 15078, "Exactly Like You" / "Guilty" on # 15090, and two hearty standard pop songs - "It Had To Be You" and "How Deep Is The Ocean?" on # 15091. Next was "Ain't Misbehaving" and "Embraceable You" on # 15092, "It's So Nice To Be Nice To Your Neighbor" on # 15093, "Someone To Watch Over Me" and "They Didn't Believe Me" on # 15101, "Speak To Me Of Love" / "I'll See You Again" on # 15102, "If I Loved You" / "Always" on # 15103, "But Not For Me" / "I'll See You In My Dreams" on # 15104, and "Made For Each Other" and "Thrill Me" recorded with the band of Jose Morand on # 15105. At about this time in 1948 Monica Lewis was a guest star on the very first "Toast Of The Town" on Sunday night hosted by Ed Sullivan that would become (with a title change to the "Ed Sullivan Show") one of the top historic shows in television history.

Monica recorded a few more sides for Signature in 1947. There was the seasonal "White Christmas" and Mel Torme's "Christmas Song" on # 15151, "Lover Come Back" and "The Howlinest', Hootinest' Gal" on # 15159, a re-issue of "The Gentleman Wouldn't Say Goodnight" and Tony Spumoni (The Ice Cream Man)" on # 15191, "Why Do I Love You?" on # 15200 (with a Ray Bloch instrumental version of "All The Things You Are" on the flip side), and "They Didn't Love You" (paired with another Bloch instrumental - "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes") on # 15202. One final Signature side was the re-release of "Put The Blame On Mame" and "Walking With My Shadow" on # 15229. At the end of 1947 Monica recorded briefly for Decca Records with the Sy Oliver band. "A Tree In The Meadow" with the Ames Brothers ("On The Street Of Regret" the Ames Brothers alone) on # 24411 which was her best seller getting to number 22 in the country, and in 1948 "The Tree With The Red Red Leaves" and "Don't Hang Around" with vocal backup by The Stardusters (who also backed up Evelyn Knight) on # 24556, and "My One And Only" and "One Who Gets You" on # 24754.

By the early nineteen fifties Monica Lewis branched out into motion pictures with parts in "The Strip", "Inside Straight" and "Excuse My Dust" in 1951, and "Everything I Have Is Yours" (which provided an early soundtrack on 78 rpm for MGM) the following year. Television spots with George Jessel and the variety show "Masquerade Party" made Monica a familiar name as her voice did with the start of a long commercial as the voice of Chiquita Banana. On the recording frony she did a number of sides for Capitol Records including "Autumn Leaves" and "Don't Say Goodbye When You Go" on Cap # 2631, "I Have One Gift" and "Don't Make Me Love You" on # 2729, "I Don't Want To Be Loved" and "Look What Followed Me Home" recorded with Nelson Riddle on # 2804, and "If I Give My Heart To You" and "When You're Near" on # 2868. At this point Monica turned more to acting with the motion picture "Affair With A Stranger" in 1953, and the television drama "Appointment With Adventure". In 1956 Monica married film producer Jennings Lang and from then on concentrated fully in the movies and television. She remained married to Lang until his passing in 1996.

In 1957 she appeared in the picture "The D.I." and the TV series "Make Room For Daddy". For the next three decades acting roles consumed her career in such television productions as "Peter Gunn", "M Squad", "Tales Of Wells Fargo", "The Deputy", "Laramie", G.E. Theater", "Laredo", "Marcus Welby, M.D.", "Ironside", "Remington Steele", and "Falconcrest". There were motion picture roles in "Charley Varrick", "Earthquake", "Airport 77", "Rollercoaster", "Concorde : Airport 79", and "The Sting II".

For many years Monica Lewis has enjoyed a full and varied career which began as she exhibited the talent to become a top notch pop music vocalist in the mid forties and a part of the times we call the Interlude Era. her musical endeavors survive on a number of cds such as "Songs Of Love" from Sepia in 2007 (probably the best offering), and a number of original fifties LPs that have been remastered and transferred to cd. Included are "Fools Rush In" on Toshiba from 2007, "Easy Come Easy Go" on Japan Universal from 2007, "But Beautiful" on Blue Moon from 2004, two cds from DRG released in the nineties - "My Favorite Things"and "Sings Jule Styne", "Sing It To The Marines" on Universal in 2004, and finally four cd releases from Spain on Equinox : "Never Let Me Go", "Monica Lewis Swings", "The Song Is You" and "Monica Lewis".

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