Miss Jill Corey
 With Heart & Voice
Look here for news and anecdotes about our Miss Corey, together with thoughts and reflections from among the legion of fans whom she has touched and inspired over her long career.
Do you remember watching Jill on television during the Fabulous Fifties or perhaps hearing her hit records on your first transistor radio?  Maybe you saw her in a musical comedy in summer theater or attended one of Jill's cabaret performances.  If so, why not e-mail us and tell us about the experience, your recollections of Jill, or how with her unique talent she may have brought you a smile or a tear.  We'll post your comments right here!  Perhaps you have a question for our Jill.  E-mail us and we'll do our best to get you an answer.

Hi Ms. Corey,

I spent a few days last week in Michigan visiting my mother,  Lena (Nerone) Prokopp.  She told me about the summers she spent at your house as a young girl and recalled you were always singing.  I believe she grew up in Nowrytown (not sure about the spelling).  She is now 84 years old and living in a small town called Farmington, Michigan.  It has been a long time since she spoke of the old days, and her memories of you were enriched with joy and admiration.  
Keith Prokopp
December  23, 2014

Love you . . .  

I fell in love with Jill in the 1950's and it has only grown.  Listening to Jill again this morning I just wish I could have seen her more.  She made life better for a lot of folks. 

I was surfing through YouTube last night, listening/watching everything I could find on Jill and somehow found my way to this website.  What fun looking at all the photos from over the years and seeing her daughter all grown up . . . and just as beautiful as her mother, if that's possible.  (Does Clare sing?) 

I can't remember which song it was now, but I had one of Jill's 45's back in the middle 50's which I absolutely wore out on the turntable, and I was thrilled when she joined Your Hit Parade.  Great to hear about the CD and looking forward to that. 

Enjoying Jill's voice again last night and getting on up there in years myself, I thought perhaps she'd appreciate knowing that she's remembered and loved. 

Thanks again, 

Tom Harper 
August 23, 2014 

[Editor's note:  Jill tells us that daughter Clare was a very successful model and did some acting, but she does not sing. Tom remembered that it was Jill's recording of Exactly Like You that he wore out playing so often.] 

From good friend Wes Smith,  Jill Corey fan and student of the popular music of the 1950's, we have this piece of memorabilia from 1958 published by one of his local radio stations, WNEB in Worcester, Massachusetts: 

You will note, of course, who has the top record in the Worcester market during that summer of 1958,  just a few short weeks after Jill introduced Love Me to Pieces on Studio One Summer Theater on CBS television.  

Wes collects such top song lists issued by many radio stations during the 1950's, and he would welcome any that visitors to this website would care to share with him.  For other students of the music of an earlier era Wes shares with us this link to a website where many Cashbox magazine top song listings may be found. 

Wes Smith  
Monson,  Massachusetts 
January 13, 2014 

I just found your site on the internet.   I was born in 1955 and was named after you!  I was just speaking with Mom telling her about looking you up on YouTube.  I wanted to see who I was named for.  She said "well if you talk to her (jokingly), tell her I loved her singing."  So, of course, when I saw a place to contact you I just had to!  I watched a clip of you singing in "Senior Prom" and I agree with Mom, quite a lovely voice. 
I am glad I could share with you. 
Jill D. 
St. Peters, Missouri 
June 26, 2013 

Ms. Corey, 
Don Hoak died in front of me outside of Amberson Towers, where I was living while getting my Ph.D at the University of Pittsburgh.  I had been walking either back to or from the building in front of the garage.  I just wanted to tell you what great memories I have of Mr. Hoak and the 1960 Bucs and of you as a great singer. 
. . . [you] and Don Hoak brought so much happiness to so many people [you] should feel quite proud of that achievement. 

Richard Vatz 
Towsen University Distinguished Professor 
Towson, Maryland 
August 7, 2012 

Miss Jill,  

In  1968, an LP was launched in Brazil.  It was called Charleston - Dancing in the Way of the Twenties.  On it your voice filled some tracks,  Harry Reeser soloing, and Something Smith and the Fire Heads (later identified as Ray Connniff) on others.  As a whole a fantastic work, I dare say.  I am a composer, and I always name my songs in a way to pay homage.  At the moment a show producer named Fernando Murta, a leader in swing, blues and Dixieland presentations, is promoting a very nice spectacle called 90 Years of Charleston.  Well, I had an idea for a Charleston, and it had its first presentation on April 28th.  Its name:  Sweet and Jolly Jill.  It is the best I can do to show you how grateful I am for being able to enjoy your voice during [these past] 44 years.  I have a short DVD of my work which I would like to send you. 

Sincerely yours, 

Joaquim Arauto Soares Petris 
May 16, 2012 

[Editor's note:  Joaquim will be sending your editor a copy of his DVD for forwarding to Jill, but he prefers not to have it posted on this website.  The writer apologized at length in his message for his lack of command of the English language, but it was not necessary; it is far better than your editor's facility with Portuguese, which is essentially none at all.] 


I grew up in Boston, and I recall listening to Jill Corey's wonderful singing voice on WCOP.  I turned professional musician after the military, and I can certainly appreciate the tame style of the music of that era. 

Ronald Santosucci  
Oxford, MA  
March 13, 2012 

Aloha, Jill, from the "Big Island" of Hawaii ! 
I was watching some DVD's from the 50's with you and Johnny Carson.  Wow!  What a voice and what a beautiful smile you have.  I am a few years younger than you, but I do somewhere in my own distant memories remember seeing you perform!  I can only say that you have the class and grace that seem "genuine."  Since it is a few days before Christmas, I want to wish you a Mele Kalikimaka (Merry Christmas in Hawaiin).  My name is Tom, and if you are ever planning a vacation in the Islands of Hawaii, give me a call and I would be honored to be your personal tour guide.  For now, much affection from a true fan and friend. 
Most sincerely, 
Thomas C. Walstrom 
From the Big Island of Hawaii 
December 21, 2011 

 Ms. Corey: 

I hope that you're feeling well and in good health and singing as greatly as ever.  I just received an LP of your Sometimes I'm Happy, Sometimes I'm Blue as a Christmas present from a friend of mine.  That LP contains extra tracks which include the song, Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?, which I first heard when I was an eleven-year-old boy in  Snow Hill, Maryland, where my family was living at the time (fall 1959).  I heard it a few more times, and I also heard it on WABC radio in January 1961,  after we moved to Plainfield, New Jersey, where we now reside.  When listening to you again, DJ Herb Oscar Anderson chimed in with you.  

 I'm 63 years of age, having been born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where you got your start.  That lilt in your voice as you sang the song really floored me!  And that song haunted me for fifty years.  Still, you are one of my three favorite songbirds of all time, the others being Julie Andrews, who was born one day after you, and Dusty Springfield (You Don't Have to Say You Love Me), who, unfortunately, passed on in 1999.  Dusty's music, however, will go on, as well as Julie's and yours.  Through all the years, including two years in the United States Army after I graduated from high school, I missed most of your subsequent performances after your husband Don had unfortunately passed on.  I came across your website and came across a song you wrote about your husband with lines such as "He loved me so.  Every day, in a hundred ways, he told me so." 

I'd like to, with your permission of course, adapt this in honor of our men who died for our country during the war in Vietnam, which was my generation's war.  Again, I enjoy your LP so immensely that I took it along with me to the Army-Navy game which occured on December 10.  Despite my egging on the cadets with a couple of cheers that I made up, such as, "We're gonna beat those squids, we're gonna beat those squids.  The Army team will sink 'em in the bay," a bit of a take off on Love Me To Pieces, Navy beat Army 27-21.  I certainly hope, Jill, that you will make another LP in the near future, for you have millions of fans around the country, including me.  I respectfully suggest that you title it "Hello Again."  My name is John E. Pritchard, and my mailing address is PO Box 943, Plainfield, New Jersey 07061.  Please keep up the good work.  I realize what a busy schedule you keep.  I do wish you the best.  And if you could record a disc of He Loved Me So, of course, I would greatly appreciate it, for I visit the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, "The Wall," every August, and I'd like to sing your song at the Wall when I'm there.   Again thank you so much.  Long life to you.  

John E. Pritchard 
Plainfield,  New Jersey 
December 15, 2011 

Hi Jill, 
I'm from Apollo, Pennsylvania originally.  A good friend of mine worked in the Avonmore Foundry.  (I'm sure it's gone now.)  I remember how proud we were when you emerged as a singing star and then married Don Hoak! 
I'm 68 and have lived in Ohio for 47 years.  I used to visit [Pennsylvania] until my mom passed away three years ago.  She lived in Pennsylvania all her life.  I haven't been back since she left us.  Mom loved your song The Robe. 
(So did I  . . . what a powerful voice from such a little girl.) 
I'm happy to hear that you are still with us and wish we could invent a time machine and go back to those magical days when the world was a much better place. 
An old ex-Pennsylvanian fan of yours, 
Marty Tomlinson 
October 12, 2011 

A Fan of Jill Corey: 
 'grew up'. 
I 'grew up' with Jill Corey (the Johnny Carson Show, Your Hit Parade, the Ed Sullivan Show, etc.).  I grew up in Camden, New Jersey and was a longtime Phillies fan (before moving to California).  Don Hoak was one of my favorite ball players.  I remember when they [Don and Jill] got married and was especially saddened when Don died.  Please let Jill know that I'm probably speaking on behalf of millions who would warmly welcome her back to at least some performances, if not a resumption of her singing career.  She was, and I'm sure still is, absolutely wonderful!  I just ordered her CD's. 
Jerry Rosen 
August 3, 2011 

Dear Ms. Corey, 
I just had a chance to watch CBS' The Johnny Carson Show and your wonderful performance.  It was a delight and still as innovative, entertaining, and enjoyable as anything on offer today.  
I am wondering if you will be one of the many stars to be honored at the final convention of the Friends of Old Time Radio being held at the Ramada Plaza, Newark Airport Hotel this October 20 to the 23?  
The convention is a chance for those who pioneered entertainment in our first electronic medium to take a bow and be thanked by those of us who are still entertained, enlightened and enthralled by radio.  For me personally, I was born legally blind, so it is with sound that as a youngster I made a thousand pictures.  I went through a cornea reshaping when I was eight and started to see about that age; but radio has always been my 'love at first sight' so to speak.  
There would probably be several individuals attending with whom you have either worked or might know professionally, and there will be one endearing fan, me!   Please consider it, and if you can make it, allow me to say personally, "Thank you," for entertainment that is truly entertaining. 

Robert Flood 
Allen, Texas 
July 21, 2011 

Hello to Jill and Clare,. 

Say hello to Jill and Clare.  This is an old friend of Clare's (and Jill's) from their days living in Connecticut and when first back in New York City.  My name is Paul, and I married a friend (and room mate of Clare's) 20 years ago.  Her name was Shannon.  I knew Clare when she first started her modeling career.  Jill would say, "I want you home early; you have a shoot in New York City tomorrow."  Great people!  Hope all is well in their world. 
May 2, 2011 

Dear Ms. Corey: 
I took my 13-year-old son Eddie to his first game of the season at Amity Little League in Brooklyn this morning.  Because he plays, I coach, and as a coach, I need to bring a baseball glove to the games to warm up pitchers, 
play long toss with the outfielders, etc.  So I brought my favorite glove, which I bought a long time ago at Friedman's Sporting Goods on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn.  It is a Wilson Major League Model A2905, Nylon Stitched, Made in USA, with a Grip-Tite Pocket, Snap-Action hinge, Pat. No 2231204, licensed under U.S. Pat No. 2722007.  You might have guessed already that it is a Don Hoak Autograph Model.  I cannot remember exactly when I bought it, but it was sometime between 1957 and 1960 (so I was somewhere between 10 and 13)  I was a huge Brooklyn Dodger fan, and I remember just how crazy everyone in Brooklyn went in October of 1955; it was unlike any other time I can ever remember.  I was also definitely rooting for the Pirates in the 1960 series. I've never acquired any single item in my life that gave me as much pleasure as this glove.  I used to play ball with it for hours and hours a day back when I simulated baseball games by throwing a ball against the side of my house, and later, when I played stickball in the P.S. 134 playground or softball in various summer camps.  The only mistake I ever made involving the glove was lending it to my friend Louis, when he was a Little League coach in the early 1990's.  The acids produced by his hands ate somewhat into the soft leather inside the glove. 
Having just used the glove again this morning, it occurred to me to look up the statistics of your late husband's baseball career on one of the baseball statistics internet sites, and then on Wikipedia, which is where I found a 
link to your website.  Having read your online biographical information, I was also surprised at the following coincidence:  I am in the middle of reading "Frank: The Voice," a biography of Sinatra by James Kaplan.  I am 
currently reading about the early '50's, a time when Mitch Miller figured greatly in Sinatra's life.  So the links mentioned on the websites between you and Miller and you and Sinatra are interesting. 
At any rate, I thought you might find it interesting that something associated with Don Hoak was still giving pleasure to someone in Brooklyn 56 years after the Dodgers were our Woild Champs.  And I hope you and Don got some decent royalties from Wilson. Thankl you for taking the time to read my reminiscences. 
Jon Silverberg 
Brooklyn, New York 
April 9, 2011 

I just read the LIFE article about Miss Corey that I purchased off eBay.  I am so happy to find that she was the success that all envisioned for her.  And Gordon Parks was the photographer!  What an honor. 
I was born in 1960, so I was too young to remember her singing, but I will start looking for recordings to hear the voice that I just read about today.  Funny, with a "bidding" war between Arthur Godfrey and Dave Garroway as mentioned in Wikipedia, Miss Corey predated another singer's beginnings, Justin Beiber. 
Frank Wendeln 
Director of Marketing/Art Director 
Parrot House Publishing 
February 10, 2011 

Hi . . . So Glad to Have Found You Still Performing, 
I am 65 and I watched you on Your Hit Parade all the time.  In fact, I remember seeing you on TV many times. 
I love to go on YouTube and look at the singers I grew up with.  So many are gone.  As a little kid I used to watch My Little Margie.  I bought a CD of her [Gale Storm] singing, and it was so great that I started to buy more CD's from my past.  I got to meet her because I took a used 45 record to a San Diego TV show.  They took my record, researched it, and it became part of the TV show, so I finally got to meet Gale Storm. 
Hey, I was the first latch key kid - lived in a bad area of the south side of Chicago.  So you keep singing and maybe one day I'll catch up with you somewhere sometime.  We have to have goals, and I just want you to know that you're not forgotten and still appreciated.  I promise, I will buy one of your CD's. 
Thanks for the memories. 
James Sleeth 
James Sleeth 
Nashville, Tennessee 
January 25, 2011 

Hey Jill,  
I grew up in Roulette, Pennsylvania, the same town as your late husband Don Hoak.  He is a local legend back there.  When I was a kid back in the 80's, Don Hoak's dad lived in a small trailer up the street from me.   Mr. Hoak was a very interesting man, always outside working on his elaborate garden.  He loved when we would stop by and ask him to tell us stories about his legendary son Don.  He often talked about you, but he would go on for hours about Clare.  He would show us fliers and posters from Broadway musicals and such and was so proud of all of you.  I remember one time he showed me and my buddy Isaac a picture of Clare.  Our jaws dropped to the ground.  She was very beautiful. This was before the internet and I was in my teens, so I really didn't know who you were at that time. 
Michael S. 
Michael S. 
Roulette, Pennsylvania 
January 10, 2011 

Greetings Jill, 
Not sure if you remember me, but we lived on the same fourth floor for many years at 71st Street and First Avenue.  I would often see you walking your cat and later became friendly with your daughter Clare.  Last I heard, you moved to California to be near Clare. 
I hope this e-mail finds you well and would love to hear from you. 
With warmest regards, 
Howard D. Goldman, J.D. 
Director of Operations 
DLS, Inc. 
New York, New  York 
November 17, 2010 

Dear Miss Corey,  
I came across your website while doing some research on Avonmore (where one side of my family was from) and Saltsburg (where another was from).  I remembered that there was a Speranza family in Saltsburg whose farmland abutted my paternal grandparents' farm.  I asked my mother if they were any relation to you and she said that they were. 
My mother and her two brothers just younger than she is remember you from grade school in Avonmore, but, then again, most people from there would, given the size of the town and your celebrity status.  My uncle Russ (sometimes called Herb; his birth name was Herbert Russell) said that he and you were classmates in Avonmore.  They moved from Avonmore to Saltsburg before finishing grade school.  Their names are Maxine Beitel Chesnick, Herbert Russell Beitel, and Lester Wayne Beitel (who was usually called Wayne).  Their parents (my maternal grandparents) were Steve and Velma Beitel. 
They also said that their aunt, Theresa Beitel Shoemaker, was a school teacher in Avonmore.  You may have known as well their cousins Elizabeth (Betty) Beitel and Margaret (Peggy) Beitel whose parents were Adam (Dutch) and Pauline Beitel. 
My paternal grandparents, William (Bill) and Stella Chesnick, had a farm in Saltsburg on the road to Nowrytown.  The back of the farmland abutted the farm of your Speranza uncle/aunt/cousins.  I had met many of them a few times over the years when I would visit my grandparents. 
My mother and two uncles wanted me to send you e-mail (from the contact address you have listed on your website) to say HELLO and see if you remember them or not.  They all wish you well and hope you are doing fine. 
In any event, it's nice to "meet" you and learn about you from your website.  I remember hearing some of your songs when I was a youngster and remember various family members commenting on the fact that you were a "local girl" with great talent who deservedly became famous.  I always heard good things about you and your family, especially your relatives whose farm bordered that of my Chesnick grandparents -- the times I met them were always fun and enjoyable. 
Thank you for taking the time to read my e-mail; I greatly appreciate it.  Have a wonderful day, fine Lady! 

Ray Chesnick, Jr. 
Cleveland, Ohio  
November 16, 2010 

Miss Corey, 
I saw your performances on a DVD with the late Johnny Carson back in the 50's and I was intrigued and curious about you.  I googled you and found a wealth of information about you.  I read the brief bio and what a wonderful success story.  It's really nice to read about success stories and how you worked your way up. 
I wish you well and hope for a continued fabulous career for you. 
A New Fan -- Mark Benny 
Mark Benny 
September 14, 2010 

Dear Ms. Corey, 
I was shown your website by Kristin Baggelaar of the Copacabana society and author of the book on the Copa , and I thought that I would also send a note to say how much I appreciated your work on television and records in the years in which I was growing up.  I truly enjoyed your singing and was also a fan of Don Hoak in his baseball playing days and was so sorry to learn of his early passing. 
Mainly I wanted to write and say how very much I appreciated your wonderful performance in the movie Senior Prom, which I saw again recently.  It was certainly an underappreciated film when it came out.  When I first saw it at a local drive-in movie theater, I was expecting a teen movie.  I didn't expect a full-blown major musical production which was carried most wonderfully by you.  I waited for more starring vehicles on the screen with you but gradually came to realize that very few serious musicals were being made at that time.  But I always remembered your sensitive performance and wonderful singing of standards as well as up tempo music like Big Daddy. 
Thanks for all the entertainment and happiness you have made over the years.  You can google me on the internet.  I was a regular on tv's The Children's Hour over WCAU-TV in Philadelphia, and all of us on that show were fans of yours and admired you very much! 
Very best wishes 
Dr. David Soren 
Regents Professor of Anthropology and Classics 
University of Arizona 
Tucson, AZ 
August 27, 2010 

Dear Jill, 
I was playing some old 78 rpm's today and played your "Egghead."  Made me remember when Don was the manager of our Salem Virginia Pirates in 1968.  Remember you sitting in the stands, but I never had the courage to speak to you or ask for an autograph. 
I have attended the Salem baseball games now for 50 years and can honestly say that Don made the 68 season the most exciting we ever had.  I was so sorry when he passed.  I know he would have soon been the manager of the Pittsburgh team. 
I also think I remember you singing on "Your Hit Parade."  Am I correct about that? 
Anyway, thanks for the great memories. 
Ernie Hubble 
Roanoke, VA 
August 20, 2010 

Dear Ms Corey,  
I just wanted to say hello and tell you that I bought your Sometimes I'm Happy . . . LP today.  Yes, in August of 2010 and I love it!  
Is there any way I can send the cover to you for an autograph?  I'd love to have your signature on it and hang it in my office.  As a music journalist for nearly 30 years, I thought I knew about nearly every good record -- until today.  I'm sorry to say that I wasn't aware of you until now, but I'm a new fan!  I'm moved to send you this note of thanks and tell you that you are an incredible talent.  The cover alone is brilliant!  But thereís a great record enclosed, as well!  
Looking around on this informative website, Iím amazed to learn of your history and Iíll be seeking out all of your recordings that I can find.  
I'm sorry to hear about Mitch Miller's passing.  What are your thoughts on him, in retrospect?  Do you have any other products available?  Do you tour?  What's new with you? 
I'm honored to send this to you.  Many thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.  
Have a great evening, 

Lee Smith 
Atlanta, Georgia 
August 5, 2010 

Hi , 
I used to be married to a radio nnouncer.  When Jill Corey came to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, my ex-husband had the honour of interviewing her at one of our then "nightclubs."  I was maybe 20-ish, but she was one of my favorite singers, so he invited me along.  I did get to meet her, and she told me her mother's name was also Claire  (perhaps spelled differently from mine).  Anyway, I remember she sang "Cry Me A River," but I can't find any record of this.  I was telling my friend and wanted to e-mail him this info.  Please help, and if able, give my regards and adoration to Jill Corey.  I will always remember her.  I believe it was in the '60's when I met her.  I could be wrong.  
Claire Ashmore  
Winnipeg, MB Canada 
July 30, 2010 

[Editor's Note:  We have provided Claire with a copy of Cry Me a River.] 

Hi there . . . 
One never knows what you'll find when perusing the internet!  I often look to validate things that are stuck in my memory . . . 
When I was a little boy  (circa 1957/age 5), I remember a small collection of '45's my mom & dad had.  There were a whole bunch of Columbia red label records among them.  One of the records I played over and over again was "I Love My Baby, (My Baby Loves Me") and the flipside "Egghead".  As a little kid, you can imagine, I had 
visions of an egg being broken on someone's head . . . and I thought "I Love My Baby" was a song about a mother's love for her little bitty "baby"!  
I grew up in NYC, and that small record collection used to go back and forth to and from our summer cottage in Peekskill, New York each year throughout my childhood.  I know I still have that record somewhere in the thousands and thousands of 45's I've collected over the years. 
I went on to a radio career that took me to Pittsburgh (WEEP/1978-1982) and Detroit (WWWW through the '80's & '90's). 
Thanks for being a part of my childhood memories.  I can still hear those 2 songs, as I played "disc jockey" many a summer's day on our screened porch and can clearly envision my mom's listening with me, my dad working on the house, my brother and little dog. 
I'm glad I found your website and feel fortunate to share this small "snapshot" in time . . . a great BIG memory for me. 
Barry Mardit 
Huntington Woods, MI  48070 
July 25, 2010 

My name is Cindy Ramsell from Hayward, California.  I have a copy of Mitch Miller's European Holiday album 
that was made for Scandanavian Airways.  It was part of my aunt's things when she passed away.  She looked alot like you on that album picture.  Do you remember what year that album came out, Ms Corey ?  If I were able to send it to you, would you autograph it for me ?  If not, thanks for the chance to share this with you.  
Thank you so much for answering my e-mail.  What a happy surprise that Ms. Corey took the time out of her busy day to listen to my message.   Thanks for your assistance in arranging that - wow!  I have recently heard her sing alot of her famous songs courtesy of You Tube.  What a great voice!   Please add my comments to her website.  I would be so happy also to receive an autographed picture.  Auntie Jay would be jealous.  I will never forget this day. 

Cindy, a new fan  
Hayward, CA 
July 18, 2010 

Dearest Jill, 
Well, My Dear, it has been nearly 29 years since we did GYPSY together at the Carousel in Ohio!  Just wanted to send love to you.  It was such a joy being your musical director on that production.  I spoke with you by phone before you moved to California a few  years back.  I would love to speak with you again if there is a way.   I am on hiatus from the business . . . have moved back to Indiana to take care of my dad.  Very challenging and very rewarding as well. 
I do hope that everything is beautiful in your world today.  You are so very dear to me, Jill. 
All Love, 
Ron Lord 
Swayzee, IN  
July 15, 2010 

Dear Miss Corey, 

Having just seen an episode of Miami Undercover called The Thrush on a DVD on the Mill Creek label, I hope you don't mind my writing to you.  The show itself was in very poor condition (very grainy and obviously mastered from VHS), but one thing about it was absolutely hypnotic, and I was eager to find out the name thereof on the end credits.  It turned out to be Jill Corey, and I am now wondering why I am not more familiar with this absolutely wonderful singer!  I am in my early 50s, and I have been a huge fan of singers such as Julie London, June Christy, Dakota Staton, Sarah Vaughan, etc., etc., for a long time.  So why don't I know about you??  I do have countless LPs and 78s lying around in organised disorder, so there may well be something of yours among them, as your name did ring a very slight bell, but I almost feel ashamed that I do not have more knowledge of your work.  It's a pity that they only let you do one song in the episode, but your rendition of I'm Through With Love puts Marilyn Monroe to 

Your website looks very interesting, but it's late at night and I shouldn't even be writing this now!  But I just wanted to say, I guess I'm a new fan now. 

Best wishes . . . to the sublime Miss Corey, 

Colin Tiller 
Bournemouth, UK 
June 14, 2010 

Hi Jill, 
I hope this note finds you well. I wanted to tell you how much I enjoy perusing your website!!  I remember you fondly in the Melody Top production of Follies . . . especially your version of "I'm Still Here"!!  Also, in Sweet Charity with my dad . . . such great memories. :) 
I have a favor to ask, if you don't mind.  I am currently creating a website for mommy and I have a page reserved for memories from friends, fans, etc.  My sisters and I would be honored if you could share any thoughts or stories you have of mom.  I know she would have been thrilled to have you 
involved in some way. 
Thank you so much and best wishes always, 
Melissa Holgate Garner-Brayton 
January 25, 2010 

[Editor's Note:  You will soon be able to read Jill's comments and much more about her friend Dorothy Collins on Melissa's new website dedicated to her mother by clicking here:  www.rememberingdorothycollins.com] 

Dear Jill, 
About three minutes ago my husband, Allan Sugarman asked me, "Do you remember where we spent our first Christmas in Westport?"  And, before I could think, he answered his own question: "At Jill Corey's house!"  I  asked him to try and find you on the internet . . . and he did.  WOW!  We just saw your most recent pictures and Clare's, too.  Oh, my gosh!  It seems like one hundred years ago that I interviewed you for a fan magazine at the Barbizon Hotel for Women in Manhattan. 
Our children: Elizabeth is 34 and is going for her master's degree at Columbia University. David is 33 and is a money manager for some of the top sports stars and lives in Miami Beach, Florida with his wife.  So much to catch up on for both of us. Please send me your phone number.  Where are you living?  We are in New  Jersey - same house we built after moving from Westport (still miss living  there!).  It would be the best Christmas for me to hear from you.  All my love to you and Clare.  
Joyce Becker Sugarman 
Morganville, NJ 
December 17, 2009 

I was just looking around the net and put in Jill Corey . . . one of my favorites as a teen.  I saw that brochure from the Cherry County Playhouse (which was in Traverse City, MI).  I wrote Miss Corey a fan letter and she called my house and invited my family to a performance at this play "Sabrina Fair" (July 26th -31st).  When I answered the phone and she said she was Jill Corey, my knees started to buckle and my mother thought I was going to faint.  She ran and grabbed the phone and me.  My parents, brother and I plus my grandparents attended the play one night where Jill Corey met and talked to us.  She signed that playbill you picture and I have the booklet in my things along with the newspaper clippings.  

Thanks for a sweet memory. 

Roxanne Davis 
Long Beach, CA 
November 10, 2009 

[Editor's Note:  Click here to see an entire page of memorabilia very kindly provided to us by Roxanne from that performance by our Jill in Sabrina Fair at the Cherry County Playhouse in 1960.] 

Love Songs 
I am a 73-year-old guy with a very happy marriage to my high school sweetheart for 54 years.  We really like good love songs and you have one of the very best.  I know that there are others that have performed "Have I Told You  Lately That I Love You?," but as far as I am concerned, yours is the best.  What a wonderful voice,  so full of the emotion that it gives me goose bumps.  Great job. 
Thank you and best wishes, 
Don and Wanda (Stout) Rogers 
Denham Springs, LA 70726 
August 1, 2009 

In 1959, for a Union-Endicott [high school] talent assembly I did a lip-synch to Jill's "Exactly Like You" song, complete with orange satin shimmy dress.  It was a huge hit!  In the audience at another school where we performed was my future husband, who fell over with my performance.  At our 25th reunion, the gang asked me to do it again!  The cheers were just as loud.  We are getting ready to celebrate our 50th high school reunion - and someone will inevitably ask me to do "Jill Corey."  But alas, the dress shrunk or I grew!  Her record is safely tucked away!  She still has a huge place in my personal history and I loved her singing!  Thanks for the happy high school memories and my husband of 46 years. 

Wanda Mastrogiacomo Hudak 
Endicott, New York 
July 7, 2009 

[Editor's note:  Wanda went on in a second e-mail to provide a bit more of the background on her performance.] 

My mom made the shimmy - orange satin with black fringe - the Union-Endicott school colors.  She fashioned a headband with a beautiful rosette, and we plunked a large rhinestone pin in the center.  The result was, when the spotlight hit the pin, the flash of brilliance added to the drama!  At my husband's school (North High), where we shared the talent show, he told me that he was sitting behind the spotlight and felt like he got a shot of lightening!  We met six months later when I was in nursing school and he was an orderly working his way through college.  He revealed that he just knew that "I was meant for someone exactly like him".  

Jill's songs are peppy and happy, and I don't think we will ever outgrow the need for that type of music that had words we could understand. 

The July 2009 issue of InTune International, the magazine published in the UK and dedicated to lovers of the golden age of popular music, contained a glowing review of Jill's two-CD set Little Girl Blue.   Dan Singer in his column Singer's Singers writes the folowing: 

Audiophonic 2007   www.jillcorey.com  

Here's a welcome 2-CD package of 30 standards recorderd from 1954 to 1958.  [The company] has come up with an exceptional, breathtaking Corey festival of familiar songs performed to perfection.  Born Norma Jean Speranza, her name was changed by TV star Dave Garroway in 1953 for her debut on his popular NBC show.  By 1958 she was in a Columbia film called Senior Prom.  In this pleasurable, all-highlights package there are songs delivered in breathtaking, sharp vocal purity.  For example, there's Get Happy (Koehler/Arlen) with verse intact.  Jill sweetly sings it to the hilt.  Speak Low (Nash/Weill) is performed with sweeping clarity.  One For My Baby (Arlen/Mercer) unfortunately is given a one-time-around vocal.  Jill makes it matter all the more.  The big-band-led vocal on I'm Sitting On Top Of the World (Lewis/Young/Henderson) couldn't be better.  Ms. Corey is dramatically on top of it all.  She's perfectly on perfect pitch and key throughout, like cream rising to the top.  Mountain Greenery (Rogers/Hart) happily is all smiles.  Give Me The Simple Life (Ruby/Bloom) is sung in a pair of different rhythms.  Jill amazes in this familiar song. Little Girl Blue (Rogers/Hart) tenderly is as soothing and as soft as a flower petal. 

The fine singer Fran Warren just might come to mind while listening to these remarkable selections.  Yet Jill surely has her very own identifying phrasing and breathing techniques.  As a woman's song, Everything Happens to Me (Adair/Dennis) makes proper sense.  Jill makes it all her very own.  Makin' Whoopie (Kahn/Donaldson) sounds as if it were written just for her.  She's true to this novel swinging novelty.  The Trolley Song (Martin/Blane) swings along differently in a dazzling non-Garland vocal.  Who Cares? (Gershwins) is remarkable.  It's most dazzling and uplifting.  Song after song, she is effervescently captivating with a fresh perky sound.


This evening, May 3, 2009, I just remembered a 1950's song I always liked as a boy growing up in Pasadena, California in the nineteen-fifties called Big Daddy.  I liked it so much that a boyhood friend gave it to me from among his extensive 45 singles collection not too long after it came out.  It has disappeared over the years, but tonight I was walking down memory lane and thought of it.  I couldn't remember who sang it, so I Googled Big Daddy and some of the lyrics like, "You think you're great with all your curls, the livin' end with all the girls," but surprisingly, after many searches found nothing until a site came up with Jill Corey and Big Daddy lyrics, "You made me cry and walk the floor, if you think I'll crawl back for more, Big Daddy, you've got a lot to learn."  I could never understand why it wasn't very popular then and virtually unknown today. 
Yours truly,  
Patrick S Grimes 

Patrick S. Grimes 
May 3, 2009 

[Editor's Note:  We directed Patrick to the page of our website where one can view Jill singing Big Daddy on location with the Ed Sullivan Show at the Red Dog Saloon in Juneau, Alaska in 1958.   Patrick followed with these additional comments on May 4th:] 

I just watched her sing Big Daddy on the Ed Sullivan Show  ten times in a row.  Wow, what can I say?  What a performer!  Up until last night I had never even seen a photograph of her.  Her performance was mesmerizing to say the least. 

Thanks again, 
Patrick S Grimes 

I was born in 1958 in a small town outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  My parents named me "Jill Corey" after their favorite singer.  I always felt it a great honor to be named after you Jill.  It meant the most to my dad as he was not only a fan or yours but of your husband Don also.  He bragged about your beauty.   I still reside a few 
miles outside of Pittsburgh and remain thankful my parents gave me such a great name.  Although my parents have passed, I hope that one day the Pittsburgh Pirates will share your life story with their fans.  I would love to hear you sing the national anthem at one of the baseball games soon.  

Jill Corey S. 
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 
April 29, 2009 

Jill was my favorite! 
I'm 64 now.  I remember listening to Jill Corey in the 50's.  She was my favorite female singer.  I just loved her voice.  I just ordered her movie "Senior Prom," which I have never seen.  I do remember when Jill married Don Hoak.  I remember thinking, "I wish it were me."  I just loved Jill Corey.  Thank you, Jill !!!!!  
Your Biggest Fan Ever, 

David Morehouse 
Springfield, Missouri 
February 19, 2009 

For many years I have wanted to share this experience with Jill Corey.  It's this:  I was a twelve- or thirteen- year-old girl in St. Louis in the late 1950's . . . a huge baseball fan . . . meaning that instead of having crushes on movie stars, I had mine on baseball players.  I discovered Don Hoak and he became my big heartthrob.  I knew everything about him, where he was born, his career in the Marines, his boxing experience . . . whatever I could find out.  I also was quite charmed by Jill Corey, whom I saw on Dave Garroway, and wanted to become . . . "like".  One summer, Jill performed at the St. Louis Muni Opera, and there was a biography of her in the St. Louis Globe Democrat.  I read about her being born in a small town in Pennsylvania (if I remember correctly) and other things,  and I knew how cute and, of course, "perky" she was, and I strongly worried about the chance that Don Hoak (who of course "belonged" to ME) would meet her.  I knew they would be perfect for each other.  I will never forget the moment when a schoolmate on the playground, who knew of my crush, informed me that Don Hoak was getting married . . . to JILL COREY.  I do think that was pretty amazing.  I had no idea they even knew each other, so what were the ODDS!  Anyway, tonight I was out and heard the song  "Santa Baby" and it made me think of Jill Corey.  I have no idea whether she ever sang that song, but it made me at least try to reach her by e-mail and tell her that I "predicted" her relationship with Don Hoak.  

Mary Jane Rosenfeld 
December 23, 2008 

I have so enjoyed reading your website and it evokes fond memories for me.  Many, many years ago, I had the privilege of dancing with Norma Jean Speranza at the Vandergrift VFW to the music of the Johnny Murphy Orchestra.  Soon after, I remember sending congratulations to Jill Corey who had instantly become a nationally known singer, loved and respected throughout the country.  As a young soldier stationed at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland in 1953, I was thrilled to receive an autographed picture from Jill.  I followed her career and have often thought of her and wished for her health, happiness and love.  She certainly brought happiness to all who knew her or were entertained by her.  If she sees the postings on this website, I certainly wish to send a loving message for a wonderful holiday season.  

With fond memories, 

Willis Brinker 
December 22, 2008 

When I was about 5 years old, I lived in Corona, New York, and my grandmother had a friend that lived across the street from us.  I called her Titsie Maria.  Her niece was Jill Corey and I met her and was so excited.  I remember seeing her on the Ed Sullivan Show  that Sunday . . . and for a kid it was so exciting to know that I had just seen her in person and now she's on the TV.  Well,  today my brother called  me and said he was sending me a picture of someone and the hint was "think of Corona."  As soon as I saw her picture I said, "OMG, it's Jill Corey,"  and after all these years (I'm 60 now) I could still remember that day. 

Pamela Greco 
Valley Stream, New York 
May 28, 2008 

I would like to thank you for the wonderful moments of listening and imagining all through my time in the Navy, eighteen months, 1955-'57.  I was one of your silent fans in the 'fifties.  I'm so pleased to learn that you're still alive and singing.  I am too, and it's a great life!  

Randy Sparks  

Please visit our website: thenewchristyminstrels.com 

Randy Sparks, founder of  
The New Christy Minstrels 
May 17, 2008 

I clearly remember Jill's debut on Garroway at Large when she admitted to being scared and then sang  I've Got the World On A String  flawlessly.  She had the kind of rapport with the camera that can't be invented and she had just the right girl-next-door persona for the times.  Her voice and register were unusual and her looks were unusual.  Watching her, my mother, father and brother commented what a success she would be.  I thought Sometimes I'm Happy Sometimes I'm Blue was one of the most creative albums Columbia released--Mitch Miller was not high on experimentation or originality and I'm surprised he agreed to it--and today sounds just great. 

Wayne Brasler 
Chicago, Illinois 
November 10, 2007 

Happy?  Sad?  Hey, forget the happy side!  It's a bunch of Mitch Miller - Arthur Godfrey style:  Bouncy and up-beat.  Hey, the music is so perky it could fit right in with Petticoat Junction  (Last Night on the Back Porch, I Double Dare You) - not that that's bad.  In fact, we need perky now and again.  But as I said, forget the happy!  Concentrate on side two, which is the BLUE SIDE.  Oh, man, Jill Corey could sing!  Her rich, strong alto voice envelopes the words and you just know she is really, really blue   . . . but in a nice way. When she sings "There ain't gonna be no next time . . ." you know the end of the world is near!  Lucious songs with lush orchestral accompaniment by Glenn Osser. 

John DeForest 
Describing Jill's own concept album, Sometimes I'm Happy, Sometimes I'm Blue 
July 23, 2007 

My name is Larry Geren.  I was in the U.S. Coast Guard (enlisted) in the Captain-of-the Port office in Miami, Florida in 1955-56.  Ensign Speranza [Jill's brother Bernard] was assigned to the office during this period.  He announced one day that his sister Jill Corey was going to visit him.  After we asked, "WHO?," he brought in a copy of LIFE magazine with Jill on the cover.  He asked me if I would show her around the area.  I don't remember all the details, since this was over 50 years ago!   However, Jill and I went to the beach (I believe Crandon Park), where I took three pictures of her.  Jill then went on a trip to Bermuda (I don't recall if her father went with her.), but I took another picture of her and her father upon her return.  

Larry E. Geren 
December 4, 2006 

Click here to see the actual pictures Mr. Geren speaks about above.  

Visitors to this website should be interested in a relatively new book in the Images of America series by Arcadia Publishng that was released on December 18, 2006.  In this profusely illustrated volume author Kristin Baggelaar carefully chronicles the long history of New York's premier nightclub, The Copacabana. In 1958, Jill became one of the youngest performers ever to headline there, and her picture in the actual gown she wore on opening night is included in the book.  The Copacabana can be ordered online through Amazon.com or from your local book store.
Dear Jill:  I don't know if you'll remember me, but you were my next door neighbor at the BOQ on Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico, sometime in March or April of 1962.  You and a group known as the Heartbreakers were there to perform for a group of military "wheels" that were meeting there.  I was working for IBM as a civilian technical representative to the USAF on the bombing and navigation system on the B-52.   I have a photograph of you and me together at the officers' club that was taken by the base photographer.  I also have a few pictures that I took of you standing by my Austin Healey at the BOQ, and I still have my copy of Sometimes I'm Happy, Sometimes I'm Blue  that you autographed for me. 

Derald Nye 
Corona de Tucson,  AZ  
October 20, 2006 

Click here to see the actual pictures Mr. Nye describes above. 

              I don't have any "direct" memories of Jill Corey.  In fact, I hadn't even heard of her until the early 1980's, when I was in my mid-twenties.  A friend of mine excitingly told me of this "new voice" she had heard on the local "good music" radio station here in Baltimore, WITH-AM.  They began to include in their play list about four tracks from one side of the Sometimes I'm Happy, Sometimes I'm Blue  LP.   I actually spoke with one of the station's hosts inquiring where I could obtain the music of this truly unique artist.  All he could advise was checking the local record shops.  It didn't take me long to find Jill's LP, and while it was a joy to listen to the "happy" side in its entirety, the Sometimes I'm Blue side really "floored" me.  She is truly an exceptional singer - one of those rare and talented individuals who can make the delivery of any style lyric an event.     Over the years the versatility of Jill Corey's voice continues to amaze me.  

John Greenstreet 
Curtis Bay, MD 
September 2, 2006 

               I remember as a child going to the movies with my mom and dad and watching Senior Prom.  My memory of Jill is indelibly marked in my mind.  Her beauty struck me when I was eight or ten, when we saw her in Senior Prom, and has been with me all these years.  I thought I was the only one in the whole world whose heart had a place for such a crush!!!  I'm just now learning the extent of her talent . . . I had no idea!!! 
               I was married to Maria Magdalena Speranza, whom I lost to cancer in 2001.  I'd sure like to know if she and Jill are related. 

Charles A. Fulghum 
Fayetteville, NC 
November 30, 2005 

             I love Jill's voice.  Has she made any new CD's since Sometimes I'm Happy, Sometimes I'm Blue?  I listen to it all the time.  I like happy music, and Jill's CD reminds me of music from way back and the flappers who sang and danced to it in the movies and on TV. 

Arthur Schottenheimer 
Natrona Heights, PA 
August 26, 2005 

               I just discovered this website and am pleased to find it.  I remember in the fifties when Miss Corey played in a TV performance in something like Kraft Theatre live.  A song she sang, Let It Be Me, has haunted me for years.  I remember my sister had this in a  45 record and used to play it often.  Over the years I've collected many records from certain artists, but just lately found a good copy of Let It Be Me!  The Everly Bothers also recorded the song, but I've yet to hear anyone sing it like Jill Corey.  At present I'm looking for a 78 rpm copy by Jill.  It's great to know Miss Corey is well.  She's number one in my book!!! 

George Mathews 
Manhattan, KS 
May 18, 2005 

                In cleaning out the attic I recently ran across an old program and script for High Button Shoes, which played at the Starlight Theatre in Kansas City in 1957 or 1958.  My mother, who was active in local productions, made me try out for a part and, to my surprise, I was selected to play Stevie, a kid in the story.  I was around 13 at the time.   The memories are still intact from that adventure and especially of Jill Corey.  She was, to say the least, most impressive in her singing and stage presence.  She was also very kind to me and made me feel like one of the cast.  To be among those veterans like Paul Gilbert, Hal LeRoy, Denise Lor and others was a somewhat daunting experience, but Jill was constantly encouraging and supporting my initial entry into this realm.  This was my first and last theatrical endeavor, and she helped make it fun.  She wrote in my program book, which I had signed by everyone at the end of the production, "To Charlie, I Love You.  Jill Corey."  She was special and I'm sure still is.  If you could pass this along to her and tell her that someone she passed along the way still thinks of her and her kindness, it would be most appreciated. 

R. C. Shoemaker 
Olathe, KS 
May 4, 2005 

                   I teach elementary music in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  As a child I loved the song Love to Pieces by Jill.  As a very young child I remember that song on the radio when we went camping in north Minnesota.  Now I teach music, and one bright gal in class is a good singer, so I gave her the song to sing.  She performed it at the school's spring program and everybody loved it.  Especially me!  Here it is, both vocalists [singing in duet on an .mp3 file which he sends us].  Send it to Jill; it may make her happy that we still think about her singing.   Jill had such a clarity of voice and articulation back then, and it is so important to have kids hear her voice now!   One of my causes in life is to bring back the melody into music with clear, clean singing, and this is what Jill epitomizes. 

John-Hans Melcher 
Santa Fe, NM 
April 15, 2005 

[Editor's Note:  John-Hans was percussionist for Elvis Presley during the 1976 Tour USA.  He is currently actively involved in the movement to introduce young people to greater variety in music through the Kids Media project.   He is scheduled to meet with legendary folk artist Pete Seeger in May to further the aims of that program.] 

                   I was happy to find a site about Jill Corey on the web.  For Christmas of 1973, when I was seven years old, my parents gave me a new General Electric automatic portable phonograph that played LP's, 45's and 78's.  Over the years to come Mom and Dad would give me old records they had bought in the 1950's and 1960's to listen to as I went to sleep.  One of my very favorites was one called Sometimes I'm Happy, Sometimes I'm Blue by Jill Corey.  For years that album from the late 1950's was all I ever knew her to have done, but I played it very often.  I loved it, and I am listening to that LP as I write this message!   I still have that old portable phonograph, but I play my records on much better equipment now.  I became a big fan of music from the 1920's and 1930's, and of great vocal music, largely due to Jill Corey, because she did so many classic songs so wonderfully on that album.  

Jeff Hed 
Fridley, MN 
February 25, 2005 

                   It was in 1955, whilst serving with the British Army in Cyprus, that during an interval in the camp cinema a recording of Cleo and Me-o was played over the 'Tannoy' sound system.  The French horns of Mitch Miller and the voices of the Four Lads were easily recognizable, but the female voice, which I took an instant liking too, was new to me.  It was not until several months later, back home in England following demob', that I was able to associate the name of Jill Corey with the voice.  Since then I have accumulated all of her known recordings apart from three titles and have them stored on either commercial or home-spun CD's. 

Brian Eccles 
Wattle Grove, N.S.W. 
February 6, 2005 


What a lovely young lady was Jill.  She was dating Jack Haley, Jr. when I met her.  I think either her publicity agent or mine arranged for us to have a "date".  In those days it was very carefully arranged.  She was a lovely and gracious singing star and a very sweet person.  Unfortunately, we did not have any kind of relationship . . . (how sad).  I have now been married for well over 44 years to my first wife, whom I met while guest starring on a Wagon Train episode in December of 1959.  We were married in May of 1960.  I hope Jill is well and as lovely as I remember.  Ben [Cooper] 

Ben Cooper 
Actor, TV and Movies  
December 1, 2004 

                 When I was ten years old (I believe that was when Senior Prom was made, in 1958.), I saw Jill Corey on TV.  I am assuming it was Senior Prom that I was watching.  If not, then it must have been a special show.  That is when I heard my very first rock and roll song, Love Me to Pieces.  Somehow that song (I could not remember the girl's name.) stuck with me all these years.  I could remember the tune and most of the words.  About three or four years ago, I was playing on my brother's computer and got into the Napster site.  My very first attempt to get a song was Love Me to Pieces, AND I GOT IT!  When I played it, it was exactly as I remembered it to be.  I was really amazed, and I found out the name of the girl who sang the song.  Since then I have tried to find out all I could about Jill Corey, but it was only yesterday that I found this website.  I am glad to hear that Jill is still around and doing well.  

Pastor Arnie Wyllie 
High Prairie Church of the Nazarene 
High Prairie, Alberta 
November 4, 2004 

                 I really enjoyed Miss Corey's singing and her work on the weekly show Your Hit Parade.  When I was growing up, I really appreciated the singers that had the talent and ability to present a song.  That was the case of Miss Corey.  She did not have to use gimmicks or other special effects when singing a song to the audience.  The talent is there and back in the 50's it was apparent Miss Corey was a star among stars.  Miss Corey's hit in 1958, Sometimes I'm Happy, Sometimes I'm Blue is considered a standard and will always be a favorite of mine.  

George Love 
Waretown, NJ 
October 18, 2004 

                 Yes, I remember watching Jill perform on television during the fifties.  And I remember my mother sitting beside me on the sofa, telling me that Jill was a cousin of ours.  Although we never met her, we were always happy that she did well by her talent and beauty.   My mother passed on in July of 1998 and our ancestry is clouded.  I would love to be in touch with others in the Speranza family to learn more about our background and family members.  I do know that my mother's father worked in the coal mines, so that is a shared background as well as the name.  I also live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and I have relatives in New York.  If any Speranzas would like to contact me, my e-mail address is veronica8@comcast.net. 

Joanie Speranza 
Pittsburgh, PA 
October 9, 2004 

                 Having been born back in 1934, you can understand why I am a long-time fan of Jill Corey and her wonderful singing style.  As a much younger man I enjoyed so many of her recordings and danced to many of them too.  You may be interested in knowing also that I saw her husband play in many Pittsburgh Pirates games.  Acme is located about 45 miles southeast of Pittsburgh as the crow flies,  so it was easy to get to the games.  At that time they played at Forbes Field, which was a great ball park.  My best to Miss Corey, and I hope she is well and enjoying life.  She made my life a bit more delightful with all her wonderful songs. 

Ronald E. Daugherty 
Acme, PA 
September 13, 2004 

                 I have been a big fan of Jill Corey since she was a regular on the Johnny Carson Show in the 1950's, prior to his taking over from Jack Parr in October 1962, and also when she became a singer on Your Hit Parade.  She was very bouncy, perky and very uplifting in her musical performances on both shows with songs like I Love My Baby and my personal favorite, Big Daddy, in her 1920's style.  She was different in her style of music, and that is why I liked her so much.  Her music lifted your spirits and made you feel happy! 

Bob Slate 
Exeter, CA 
September 13, 2004 

                 Yes, I "fell in love" with Jill many years ago when I saw her in person in summer stock locally doing Gigi.  This lovely lady is so talented.  Here is something that may be of interest:  While reciting her lines perfectly in her sweet voice, sitting about eight feet away from me on the circular stage, she noticed a paper clip or some other small object that didn't belong on the stage.  I was amazed when she picked up the paper clip, or whatever it was, and examined it closely, while not detracting in the least from her magnificent performance.  I sure would have loved to have met her in person, especially if both of us were single!  . . . You might tell Jill how much my wife Jean and I enjoyed her performance in Gigi over forty years ago. 

Bill Hawes 
Skokie, IL 
July 25, 2004

                  I was born on October 2, 1935, two days after Norma Jean, in New York City.  I've never met her, but we did write for a while shortly after I enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1953.  I was assigned to a band and some of the bandsmen saw the November 1953 LIFE  magazine article (which I still have) that featured her.  They asked if she and I were related.  I wasn't sure, so I called my dad, and he told me that some Speranzas had moved somewhere in Pennsylvania and were part of our family.  I wrote Jill and sent the letter to the Barbizon Hotel in New York City, where she was staying.  I was so thrilled when she wrote back, ending the letter " . . . from one Speranza to another."   We communicated for a while but lost contact after my assignment to another band in Frankfort, Germany. 
               Nonetheless, I did follow her career and always was so proud of her.  She is a wonderful talent and entertainer, but sadly, she has never been given the recognition she deserves.  While I was living in Philadelphia,  Jill appeared at the Playhouse in the Park in Irma La Douce, and I enjoyed seeing her performance there several times in June, 1978. 

Sebastian Speranza 
Owensboro, KY 
July 17, 2004

              I think she's wonderful  and never got the recognition she deserved.  She's a real entertainer.  I think men and women loved her equally.  She just had that kind of personality.  I never met her, but she always gave off the aura that she enjoyed singing, enjoyed people, enjoyed performing, and we all enjoyed her. 

               I lived just outside Pittsburgh (in McKeesport) from 1953 until 1965, and she was very popular there, as was her husband.  (Go Bucs!)  I admit I only have one album of hers, Sometimes I'm Happy, Sometimes I'm Blue,  but those were the songs of my parents' youth, and there was many a summer night that they would sit outside on the porch and sing those songs, so I knew them all.  Jill Corey had such a wonderful lilt in her voice that it just made you want to listen to her over and over.  

                I remember when they [Jill and Don Hoak] got married.  It was big news in Pittsburgh and so sad that he passed away so young.  I wish her well.  She has provided lots of pleasant memories for me.  Every time I play the album, I think of my family (all gone now) and the summer nights we hung out together.  Families don't do that anymore.  Too bad.  We had such good times, and they are indeed great memories. 

July 8, 2004

Until recently Jill resided on the upper east side of Manhattan, where among her other leisure activities she was an avid bird watcher!  She has an uncanny knack for spotting rare or unusual species.  As a consequence, Jill had developed a cult following of fellow practitioners of the art who hope to add to their list of sightings with the help of her perceptive eye.  Jill tells us that Central Park is an ideal locale for bird watching, because it offers a well situated resting stop for birds migrating both north and south along the eastern flyway.  Even living in the midst of the nation's greatest metropolis, Jill has developed a close kinship with nature and described herself as a tree hugger!
    My business partner was Harriett H. Hubbs.  She and Jill stayed at the same rooming house for girls when both came to New York City to begin their respective careers.  Harriet was attending photography school at the time, while Jill began appearing on network television and started to record for Columbia Records.  Harriett told me that Jill held the record for being the youngest performer ever to appear at the famed New York nightclub, the Copacabana.   Years later Harriett and I learned that Jill would be appearing in Irma la Douce at the Corning Summer Theatre in upstate New York, near where we were living at the time.  Jill came to the theater lobby and spent a half hour chatting with her old friend Harriett, myself and my kids.  She gave us all a lift that day.  Her clever tunes have always stayed with me. 
Dona Teske 
Peoria, Arizona
Jill has a great reverence for words.  She's a competitive Scrabble player and is addicted to the New York Times weekend crossword puzzles, the most challenging ones, which Jill confidently completes in ink!
      I certainly remember Jill Corey.  One summer in the 50's, she was doing summer stock and came to a summer theatre just outside Toronto, Ontario called Music Fair.  She was appearing in Meet Me in St. Louis, and I happened to be a an apprentice at the time.  As an apprentice, we got walk-ons and bit parts in the shows, and I had the good fortune to play one of the "creeps" she danced with to make her boyfriend jealous at one of the local dances.  Pretty exciting for a small town guy in his teens.  I have always treasured that experience and, as a matter of fact, I still have the program. 

Robert Smith 
Toronto, Ontario 
June 3, 2004

The LIFE magazine article pictures Jill attending church with her father just before leaving  home and family for a new life and career in New York City.  For years she had prayed every day for success in her chosen field.  Jill's faith sustained her not only through those early days away from home and Avonmore, but throughout life, as when she was left a widow at age 34 with a young daughter to raise.  More recently Jill has served as a lector in the church she attended in Manhattan.

           I was born and raised in Pennsylvania outside Philadelphia.  I have long been a fan of the music of the 1950's , and when I got my computer two years ago, I started looking for information on singers and stars of the 50's.  Jill was one of them.   I wanted to get a video of Your Hit Parade with Jill on it.  I was very young when the show was on TV, but my parents would never miss the show.  I always thought she had a cute personality and a great singing voice.  I wish I had some memories of seeing Jill in person, but unfortunately I  never got to see her in person. 

Betty Racine 
Wilmington, Delaware 
May 16, 2004 

Jill began singing when she was eight, and by age thirteen she was singing professionally with a local band for five dollars a night.  Just a few years later in the late 1950's she became one of the youngest performer ever to headline at New York's famed Copacabana night club.  But why not let Jill tell you the story in her own words.  Click here to hear the actual 1957 interview by the announcer on one of her very own syndicated radio programs, Manhattan Melodies.

           Who can ever forget the Lucky Strike Hit Parade and the expectation each week when everyone would gather around the radio [and later television] and listen for their favorite song to make number one.  All the stars were so unique and talented.  One, of course, caught my eye, and that was Jill Corey.  She took a country western favorite, Have I Told You Lately That I Love You? and transformed it into a masterpiece.  It was 1959, and I bought a 45 of the song  and played it constantly, thinking about my girlfriend and now wife of 45 years.  And even after that tenure I still play that song by Jill , along with her fabulous rendition of the Robe Of Calvary.  I will never forget Jill Corey.  She adds a warmth and innocence to music that not too many stars have been able to do.  

Benny Crow  
Nacogdoches, Texas  
May 10, 2004 

Jill's mother died at age thirty-four, when Jill was only four years old.  Her older sister Alice, then fourteen, assumed the duties of raising Jill and looking after the four male members of the household as best she could at so young an age.  Sister Alice is no longer with us, and Jill speaks with great reverence whenever she talks about her Sissy.  Later, as Jill grew older and started to take over some of the household chores, she also began honing her craft by singing away merrily as she washed piles of pots and pans and dirty dishes after school each day!

In Tune International, themagazine for lovers of the golden age of popular music, published in the United Kingdom, chose our Jill as the subject for its lead article and cover for the February 2004 issue. 

      It's really heartwarming that Jill is getting such well deserved attention at the moment - if only some enterprising producer could get her back in the recording studio and not let her out until she's recorded all those songs that she should have done ages ago! 

Gerry Stonestreet, Editor 
In Tune International 
Mundesley, Norfolk, U.K. 
February 8, 2004 

You'll be reading excerpts from the current article about our Jill right here in the future, but please take a few moments now to learn more about this fine publication by clicking here.(Return to the Sidelights page.) 


Jill developed a reputation for being an accomplished polka dancer, as well as a jitterbugger. She explains it this way:  While singing with Johnny Murphy's dance band starting at age thirteen, someone in this coal mining community of southwestern Pennsylvania would inevitably request a polka.  Whenever the band played a polka, or any other number that did not require a vocal, she would take to the dance floor, and as Jill says,  "Usually with the cutest boy in the house."  She evidently had lots of practice!
With respect to the original 1958 Columbia LP, Sometimes I'm Happy, Sometimes I'm Blue, 

       . . . it was Jill's idea to create a distinctly two-sided album, with one side taken up with half a dozen "Roaring Twenties" numbers put across with verve and penache. . . . Glenn Osser's period style arrangements provide just the right backdrop for these songs, as indeed they do for the second half of the album, vastly different in mood.  Here, Osser's wonderful string writing perfectly complements the emotionally charged suite of ballads, impeccably sung by Jill in a heartfelt manner that never tips over into cheap melodramatic effect.  To describe this sequence as the female equivalent of Sinatra's In the Wee Small Hours is the nearest I can get to conveying just how successful Jill is in creating the mood.  Her versions of  In Love in Vain, He Was Too Good to Me, Nobody's Heart andBetter Luck Next Time have never been bettered as far as I am concerned, and make me wish she had recorded more in  this vein.  

Gerry Stonestreet, Editor 
In Tune International 
February 2004

Jill had an idyllic marriage tragically shortened by the death of her beloved Don after only eight years.  The legacy of that brief period of bliss, of course, includes daughter Clare with whom Jill remains very close.  But Jill, widowed at age thirty-four in 1969, never remarried, and she still shares thoughts with her Don every day even after all these years.  After All These Years, in fact, is the title of just one song in a song cycle composed and performed by our Jill in which she depicts events in life, both the happy and sad.  In that song cycle He Loved Me So is the song Jill dedicates to her husband. 

  .......He loved me so. 
     Every day in a hundred ways he told me so. 
     In honesty, in affection, he told me so. 
     He loved me so. 
     Every day in a hundred ways he showed me so. 
     With loyalty and kindness he showed me so. 
     I was his beloved, I was his adored. 
     He put no one above me, 
     And I became his world. 
     He loved me so, and I should know 
     For I loved him so.

Oh!  I'm lonely and left with tears and sorrow.  
I can't face tomorrow since my love has gone.  
He's left me, left me for another and my heart went with him.  
How can I go on?  

Was our love a game played for a day?  
Were you pretending two hearts gone astray?  
Am I to blame for this unhappy ending?  

Nothing else is left me but a memory.  
Beloved, how I long to hold you in my arms, enfold you,  
Live again out happiness, but now I can face tomorrow alone,  
Since my love has gone. 

It was with the help of these somber words above penned by Wasserman and Neville that the young Norma Jean was catapulted from her five-dollar-per-night job singing with a local dance band into the glamour and fame of  a television and recording career.  It was this song, Since My Love Has Gone, that she sang a capella into a tape recorder at a radio station near her home in Pennsylvania one day in 1953.  That recording eventually found its way to Mitch Miller and the rest, as it is said, is history.  But actually, there is a little more to the the story.  While few have heard of  lyricists Wasserman and Neville, Norma Jean's choice for composer was none other than Giuseppi Verdi, whom many  consider the greatest of all composers for the voice!  The melody for the song Jill sang was adapted from Violetta's soaring aria Addio del passato from the third act of La Traviata.  Verdi's librettist Francesco Piave had written words equally melancholy for the Verdi heroine and for very similar reasons.  But, of course, Violetta had even more serious problems than just a love gone astray; she was also dying of consumption.
Our Jill was the voice of countless commercials during the decade of the 1950's. Click here and you can hear an actual example, a four-minute singing commercial Jill made in 1959 for the Kelvinator automatic washer. 

Clip courtesy of the Classic Appliances web site 


It was Jill who conceived the idea of Sometimes I'm Happy, Sometimes I'm Blue, which so effectively demonstrated her innate ability to sing in such contrasting styles.  As she explained in her interview with Gerry Stonestreet for In Tune International: 

          "Yes, whenever I listened to records, I always got into the mood of a ballad and then the next track would be a fast number and change the mood.  So I specifically asked on this LP all the fast tunes would be on one side and all the ballads on the other.  I think I chose the ballads pretty well.  When Frank Sinatra was recording his album In the Wee Small Hours, I remember he called me to ask for suggestions for inclusion, and I suggested I Get Along Without You Very Well, which he ended up doing."

A Splendid Look Back at Jill Corey's Unique Talent! 

     During the '50's many new promising perky, bright-voiced female singers appeared, and following the demise of the big-bands, were able to learn their craft by appearing on television, only to lose both pace and race when rock 'n roll became the ruling factor.  Jill Corey was certainly one who shone brightly, with proof clearly evident on this delightful collection which puts its spotlight on an album originally released by Columbia in 1958.  Ironically, the focus falls initially on songs written in the Twenties and Thirties, and nicely packaged with punchy orchestral arrangements by Glenn Osser, so I Double Dare You, Ain't We Got Fun? and Bye, Bye Blues emphasize the fun side of the set.  With Osser's string section in place, He Was Too Good to Me, Better Luck Next Time and In Love in Vain slow the pace for contrasting heartbreakers from a wider time-span and they really display Jill's considerable emotional range in ballad mode. Six welcome bonus tracks, originally singles, include Exactly Like You and Have You Ever Been Lonely?, which contain some soft-rock arrangements. 

Allen Pollock from Plymouth, Devon, UK  
December 22, 2003 
Reprinted by permission 
Mr. Pollock's review appears on 

Gerry Stonestreet of In Tune International asked Jill about her live performances during the '50's: 

     "I'll never forget what happened.  I didn't want to sing live in clubs.  I was singing live on television every week in front of millions of people, but I didn't like the idea of singing in front of 250 strangers in a small room!  So they took me out of town.  I had Neal Hefti doing the arrangements, they selected a band, they selected a room somewhere, so that in case I bombed, no one would know!  Anyway, it ended up being quite satisfying, so I did a lot of them.  My television work took up 39 weeks of the year, and I did the clubs and theatre for the rest of the time."

Jill Corey:  Sometimes I'm Happy, Sometimes I'm Blue 

     The renowned Columbia LP of twelve songs now comes with an additional six singles which simply blow you away.  I'd like to trumpet in print this overdue reissue.  On the heels of your editor and Robert Rice, my take on this glorious musical delight hopefully will prompt you to rush out and add this treasure to your collection.  Jill covers both bases here.  The first six songs zip along in joyous robust Dixieland frenzy.  Sounds like great music for speedily cleaning a room.  It's a wide-awake and very exhilarating vocal session.  Then, on the title song followed by five additional ballads, Jill lets it entirely hang out emotionally, pouring out every ounce of her inner being.  Jill certainly has that been there, done that, vocal intensity.  She charmingly touches many of our innermost sensibilities.  In Love In Vain (Robin/Kern) sounds so personal that you will be saying, as I did, "No, I didn't hear that, did I?"  The pair of Rogers and Hart masterpieces, Nobody's Heart and  He Was Too Good to Me, will have you crying.  The 1958 single My Reverie by orchestra leader Larry Clinton is sung so tenderly that it's over much too quickly. Jill brings new meaning to the heartfelt lyrics with her sincere mellow approach.  There ought to be a warning on the cover of the CD saying that playing it just might bring tears to your eyes. 

Dan Singer in his column 
Singer's Singers in 
In Tune International  
April 2004

Jill Corey Stars on New WMIT Pop Music Show 

     Yesterday evening at 11 p.m. WMIT presented the first in its new series of late evening popular music shows, the Jill Corey Show. Successor to last year's Patti, the program stars 19-year-old singer Jill Corey.  It will be broadcast every evening, Monday through Friday, at eleven.  The program has many advantages over its predecessor.  Miss Corey manages to keep the commercials to a minimum; in addition, she manages to get four records, usually including one of her own songs, into the fifteen-minute program.   Miss Corey is also easy to listen to; she is very straightforward and sounds as if she really enjoyed doing the show.  Listening to her is a pleasure, for she sounds like a close friend.  All things considered, the program is an unusually pleasant one to listen to.  It is certainly a vast improvement over any similar nationally sponsored program that MIT has presented. 

Reprinted from Vol. 75 of the Archives, 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 
Dated October 4, 1955 

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