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Miss Jill Corey
Photo Gallery
 
LIFE Magazine Cover
 
 Click any image on this page for a larger view or more of the story.
 
 
Jill's professional career started at age thirteen, when she began singing with the Johnny Murphy Orchestra in her hometown of Avonmore, Pennsylvania.  Her starting salary was five dollars a night, but she received a raise to six dollars per night shortly before she left the band three and a half years later to sign with Columbia Records and debut on the Dave Garroway Show on October 2, 1953.  Read much more about Jill's early days as the Belle of Avonmore by clicking here or on the image at left.  
  
 
Click on the cover photo above or at left to view the entire feature article on Jill Corey in the November 9, 1953 issue of LIFE.   To read the entire article just as it appeared in LIFE magazine more than fifty years ago, click here.    Adode Acrobat reader is required to view this .pdf  file reproduction of the magazine article kindly prepared  for us by Mr. John Greenstreet. 
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This is the very first publicity photo of Jill issued by Columbia Records after signing  Jill to a seven-year contract in the fall of 1953.  The picture was taken that September and was to appear often on sheet music and in magazine articles about the young star for the next several years.  Click here or on the image at left for a larger view. 
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The November 23, 1953 issue of Tempo magazine, a pocket-sized news weekly, featured this picture of Jill on the inside of its cover page, along with a brief story in its entertainment section about her then two-month-old television career.   Click here or on Jill's image at left to see the article. 
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The exact origin of this photo is unknown, but it apparently was featured in a color newspaper supplement sometime during the run of the Dave Garroway Show, on which both Jill and Canadian singer Shirley Harmer were featured.  The reporter responsible for the caption was not well informed, since he misspelled the names of both subjects in the picture.  Click here or on the image at left to learn the origin of the jeweled tiaras the ladies are modeling.  
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The February 1954 issue of Inside TV magazine carried an extensive four-page article about our young star after her first six months in New York.  Click here or on the Jill's image at left to read the entire story.  
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At age eighteen, Jill graced the cover of  TV Preview, program guide for St. Louis area television stations for the week of April 17-23, 1954.  Click image for larger view and  to read the original caption.  
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During the summer of 1954, Song Hits magazine featured this photo of the 18-year-old Jill along with an article about her early success.  Click here or on the image at left to read the article. 
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Jill is pictured here along with Jack Haskell and host Bill Cullen on the set of the venerable Stop the Music during its last season on network radio in 1954.  Click the image for larger view and click here for a potpourri of assorted pictures and stories from Jill's career.   
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The September 1954 issue of TV Star Parade magazine carried a pictorial feature devoted to the young Jill Corey entitled Fancy Free Click here or on the image to read the entire article.  We wish to thank fan Betty Racine of Wilmington, Delaware for contributing this feature. 
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During the summer of 1954, Richard Hayes, another young singer around Manhattan, took Jill to the Copa to see the legendary Frank Sinatra.  Click here or on the image to read the hilarious story of just how this one date led to Jill's long friendship with Old Blue Eyes.  
 
The February 1955 issue of Woman's Home Companion magazine featured an extensive first person article by Jill in which she tells about her early days in New York City, when her career was just beginning.  Click here or on the image at the left to read the entire article and see eleven more photos of Jill at nineteen. 
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Jill was an international star.  Even some of  her earliest Columbia releases were available on the Continent on the Philips label, and in Australia Jill could be heard on the Coronet label.  Sheet music for her popular songs was published in both Australia and the U.K.  Click here or on the image at left for examples of both.   
 
 
During the 1955-56 television season, Jill was a regular on the Johnny Carson  Show, Johnny's early comedy-variety show for CBS.  Click here or on Jill's image at left to see several publicity photos released to promote the show, along with some original suggested captions.  Click here to see what else Jill was up to on television in 1956 - her very own Jill Corey Show. 
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During that 1955-56 TV season, when Jill was lead singer on the Johnny Carson Show originating from Los Angeles, TV Fan magazine ran separate articles on both Jill and Johnny in their April 1956 issue.   Click here or on the image at left to read just how Jill identified and learned to cope with A Wolf on Every Corner. 
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Film and stage star Ricardo Montalban plays chaperone at the Harwyn Club for TV and record singing star Jill Corey and Jack Haley, Jr., son of the famed comedian.   Jack and Jill have been going up that romance hill since she moved to Hollywood.   That was the original caption supplied for this photo.  Click on the image at left for a larger view and also a second picture of Jill joining the Montalbans, Ricardo and wife Georgiana Young, at another club. 
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Here are Jill and Jack Haley, Jr. out on another evening on the town!  
Jill served as resident girl singer for a season on the Robert Q. Lewis Show, an afternoon musical variety program on CBS television that originated from New York.  On the occasion of what appears to be Robert Q.'s birthday, Jill attended a party at his apartment in Manhattan.  Click the image at left to see three informal snapshots taken at the party, as Jill participated in the festivities. 
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Click here or on Jill's image at left for an entire portfolio of black and white publicity stills of Jill released beginning in the fall of 1953 and extending through the 1980's, when Jill capped her long career with her one-woman show at Carnegie Hall.  
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In September 1955, Columbia Records released a cute novelty song by Jill called Ching Ching-a-Ling.  It was part of a promotional campaign for a line of lingerie by the same name offered  by Munsingwear for whom Jill then became spokesperson.  While Columbia backed the recording with another novelty tune called Look! Look!, they provided Munsingwear with a special edition with Ching Ching-a-Ling on both sides of the record and this special protective sleeve.  Click the image at left for larger view and click here to see Jill in the studio at Columbia records on the very day she recorded the song. 
 
 
Jill's biggest hit single record, Love Me to Pieces, was introduced on an episode of the same name on the television anthology Studio One Summer Theater during July, 1957Jill had recorded the song the previous month, but she could not appear as part of the program cast because she was already committed to other appearances around the country that summer.  Click on Jill's image at left and find a collection of sheet music covers featuring Jill and many of the songs she recorded for Columbia during the 1950's. 
 
Jill appeared on the cover of the Chicago Tribune's TV Week for the week of May 18-24, 1957.  
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That May 18-24, 1957 edition of the Chicago Tribune TV Week carried this story of Jill's rise to stardom on its first page.   
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Not to be outdone by the competition, the Chicago Sun-Times also featured Jill on the cover of its TV program guide, TV Prevue, during the week of September 1, 1957, the week Jill debuted as lead singer on Your Hit Parade.   
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Jill was lead singer on Your Hit Parade, along with co-stars Alan Copland, Virginia Gibson and Tommy Leonetti, during the 1957-58 season, the final year the program appeared on NBC television. Click here or on Jill's image for a full page of photos and articles which chronicle Jill's life and career during that very busy period for her.  
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The July 1957 issue of Modern Screen magazine featured a pictorial on Jill and her date with a young serviceman on leave from the army.  Click here or on the image at left for the full story.   That serviceman was actor Ben Cooper, and you can read his thoughts about this arranged "date" by clicking here. 
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While we don't have an exact date for this photo, no doubt it is from 1957 or 1958, when Jill was a fixture on all the television network musical variety programs of the era.  Here Jill is on the set of the Steve Allen Show with host Steve, Sammy Davis, Jr. and the legendary Orson Welles.  
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Publicity photo originally captioned . . .   

GREETINGS, DOLL . . . Pretty songstress Jill Corey buzzes friends from Idlewild on her arrival here this morning from Hollywood, where Jill discussed an upcoming movie contract.  The studios started to "bite" after Jill was signed to star on the new Hit Parade show this fall.  
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Another publicity shot originally captioned . . .  

What time is it here in New York?" asks pretty songstress Jill Corey after her arrival via American Airlines from Los Angeles.  Jill is in town to run her disk jockey program for the College Radio Stations Network.  
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Jill was the second popular singer from the 50's to be featured on her own Fleers Spins and Needles bubble gum card, when this one was issued in 1957.  Click the image for a larger view and to read the brief story of Jill's career given on the back of the card.  
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Marle Becker of Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania founded the Jill Corey Fan Club while he was in the seventh grade.  This photo was on the membership cards he issued.  Click the image for much more on the Jill Corey Fan Club. 
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Publicity photo of our beautiful star released in the late fifties, when her career was at its zenith.   Click here or on the Jill's image at left to see an enlarged version along with another publicity photo entitled Jill on Stage.   Click here to see Jill in performance on stage in several more venues so far unidentified.  Can anyone help provide background information on any of these performances? 
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Mid-50's publicity picture with Jill looking as if she had been photographed for her high school yearbook    
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Publicity photo released around 1957 with Jill appearing just a bit more sophisticated!  
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Two traumatic near drowning experiences in childhood left Jill with a life-long aversion to the water.  This did not prevent the enterprising publicity photographer from using a pool setting at any opportunity to film Jill and for very obvious reasons.  
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The years 1957 through 1960 were the busiest of Jill's career, and during that period she appeared on literally dozens of television shows.  Click here or on the image at left to see a sequence of screen snaps taken from Jill's actual television performances.  Notice the variety of Jill's hair styles. 
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This picture of Jill appeared in the July 1957 issue of a magazine entitled Teenage Review, but we have no further information on the publication.  
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Two publicity pictures dated December 12, 1957 issued by the Americana Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida tell this story of the Tiny Team:  Jill Corey, Columbia recording star, and Little Jackie Heller, emcee in Americana Hotel's Bal Masque, both hail from Pittsburgh.  Their reunion on the Americana bill continues through Saturday.  Two pictures added 03/08/13. 
 
Jill was one of the youngest performers ever to headline at New York City's famed Copacabana.  In this photo from 1958 Jill is attired in the actual gown she wore for her opening night.    Click here and read about Jill's appearance at a reunion of Copa stars in 2007. 
 
 
 
The Sometimes I'm Happy cover of Jill's dual theme 1958 LP released by Columbia Records.  Click here to learn all about the CD version of Sometimes I'm Happy, Sometimes I'm Blue that was released in 2003. 
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Image from the Sometimes I'm Blue side of Jill's original 1958 LP.  Read the fabulous reviews of this recording on our Reflections page.    
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The month following the release of Jill's LP, Sometimes I'm Happy, Sometimes I'm Blue, Columbia Records paid tribute to their young star a with cover feature in the Columbia Records house organ entitled Insight.  Included is a picture of Jill in the Bridgeport, Connecticut Columbia factory, where she accepts the first copy of the album coming off the production line. 
 
Jill as the Toronto Star Weekly's "pin-up girl" in 1958.  Note that the caption incorrectly lists Jill's hometown as Allentown, Pennsylvania.   
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Jill starred in the Columbia Pictures 1958 release Senior Prom.  This is just one of the many publicity stills promoting the picture.  Click here or on the image at left for much more on Senior Prom. 
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Before there was Playboy, it was Esquire that was the leading men's magazine, albeit not nearly so risque as its successor.  In their silver anniversary issue of October 1958, Esquire ran a pictorial feature entitled Modern Models of Great Artists' Visions of Beauty.  In it photographer Bert Stern chose . . . Jill Corey:  seen as the sultry, sensuous dark-haired woman of the South Seas that fascinated Gauguin.   Click here or on Jill's image for larger view. 
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In June 1959, Jill recorded a novelty song for Columbia Records called the President Song in which she recites the names of all American presidents in succession from Washington through Eisenhower.   Click here or on Jill's image to view the equally novel sheet music. 
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Don Hoak and Jill Corey applied for a marriage license on December 21, 1961, in Pittsburgh, and they were married there just six days later on December 27th.  The photo at left was widely distributed in the press, and clicking on the image will take you to an entire page of of photos from their early years as a married couple, when Jill began to curtail her own career to follow Don's career in baseball as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates and then the Philadelphia Phillies.  
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Jill's husband Don Hoak first signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers organization in 1947 and spent eleven years in the National League.  Click image for more on Don's career in major league baseball, along with the  delightful story of his courtship of Jill. 
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Jill married Don Hoak in Pittsburgh on December 27, 1961, while Don was with the Pittsburgh Pirates.  In April 1965, their daughter Clare was born.  The couple enjoyed a blissful marriage entirely consistent with the Cinderella story that Jill had lived since her career began in Avonmore.  Then one day in October 1969, Jill's beloved Don was taken from her after less than eight years in that marriage.  Click the image at left to see a few pictures of Jill and Don at home. 
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After her marriage at the end of 1961, Jill began to curtail her public appearances as she accompanied Don to many of the National League cities where his teams, the Pittsburgh Pirates and then the Philadelphia Phillies, were scheduled to play.  However, she still had certain contractual obligations to fulfill, and in June of 1963 Jill appeared in the play Sunday in New York at Philadelphia's Playhouse in the Park.  Click here or on the image at left to view the program and Jill's entire Theater Marquee 
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The family soon included Clare, an extraordinarily beautiful girl . . . who grew up to be a very successful model.  Click here to read how Clare's career as a model began.   Click on the image at left to view a full page of Clare's publicity photos from her career as both model and actress.  
 
 
 
Jill's credits include many appearances in summer stock around the country, as well as in Canada.  In 1960, she appeared in Sabrina Fair at the Cherry County Playhouse near Muskegan, Michigan.  Click here or on the image at left to see the playbill from that performance together with another publicity still in similar pose taken about ten years later. 
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This autographed photo dating from 1975 was found for sale on ebaY as part of an estate sale of a serious collector of celebrity autographs.  
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This photo of Jill in her most glamorous pose was taken during the 1970's, when Jill was rebuilding her career in musical theater and cabaret.   
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This photo of Jill with a slightly pixy-ish grin also dates from the 1970's, when Jill was very active in cabaret and musical theater.   
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In 1976, Jill attended a reunion of members of the Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Yankees who participated in the 1960 World Series.  Pirates team member Dick Stuart autographed this photo to his "old friend Jill Corey."  The names of Billy Martin and Mickey Mantle were added to the photo by Dick and are not authentic autographs.  
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Jill enjoyed a very successful career in musical theater starting in the late 1950's and extending to as recently as 2003, when she appeared in a production of Anne of Green Gables.  At left Jill is shown on stage in 1978 in the role of Irma La Douce.   
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Friend of this website, Ronnie Allen, has created a musical slide show featuring sixty-one images of Jill and family, along with three songs from among the many that Jill has recorded over the years.  Click Jill's picture at left to view this new feature.  Java script must be enabled on your browser in order to view the show, and pressing F5 on your keyboard one or more times at any time throughout the display will change the song Jill sings.  
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Jill graduated from Bell-Avon High School on May 27, 1953,  just weeks before her debut on national television as lead singer on the Dave Garroway Show.  On August 1, 2003, Jill attended the the 50th-year reunion of that class of 1953.  Click image for another full page of photos of  Jill as the Belle of Avonmore. 
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Click the image and learn why one perfume company regarded Jill as their million dollar baby, along with many other interesting highlights and sidelights on Jill's life and career.
 
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