RIP: Singer Kay Starr dies at 94
Kay Starr, best remembered for the 1952 hit “The Wheel Of Fortune” (#1) and 1956’s “Rock And Roll Waltz” (#1), died Thursday (November 3) at her home in Beverly Hills at the age of 94. Born Katherine Laverne Starks in Dougherty, Oklahoma, she sang on the radio as a child in Dallas and Memphis before settling in under her new name as a girl vocalist with Joe Venuti’s orchestra at the age of 15. Stints with other bands followed, including Glen Miller and Bob Crosby, before Kay signed a solo contract with Capitol Records in 1947. Hits like “Hoop-De-Doo” (#2-1950) and “Bonaparte’s Retreat” (#4-1950) followed and in 1955 she switched to RCA Records, only to see her chart popularity wane in the face of rock ‘n’ roll music. She continued to perform onstage for many years and was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960. Billie Holiday herself once remarked that Kay Starr was “the only white woman that could sing the blues”.