Jill Corey Welcomes New Singing Job
By Richard F. Shepard
Notice to eligible bachelors:
Jill Corey, a pretty, brown-eyed singer, is dated-up for the next thirty-nine
Saturdays. Please do not disturb.
Corey will be going steady as one of four vocalists
on the National Broadcasting Company's "Your Hit Parade" TV series, which
starts next Saturday at 10:30 P.M.
She confessed last
week that she would be glad to get back to a regular schedule after almost
a year of personal appearances, road trips and all the other trappings
of an unregulated routine.
television does not represent her ultimate aspirations, the 22-year-old
performer started on her way to renown in the medium four years ago.
Before that, she had sung with a band in her native Avonmore, Pa., a far-flung
(forty miles) outskirt of Pittsburgh. Her voice came to the ears
of a Pittsburgh radio station manager, who sent a tape to Columbia Records,
where Mitch Miller, in charge of popular music, was so impressed that he
summoned her to New York.
She took leave of her father, an Italian immigrant
who retired only last year from operation of his own coal mine; two brothers
and a sister; and her name, which was Norma Jean Speranza. She wanted
to use the name Jean Hope, the last half of the direct translation of Speranza,
but the New York creators settled on Jill Corey. Even then she came
to the big town thinking that her name would be Jill Storey, thanks to
an error in the telegram, and didn't learn who she really was until she
hit Madison Avenue.
Very soon after debarking
in New York, she started on Dave Garroway's TV show, later moved to Johnny
Carson's series and did radio and television for the National Guard.
She was working regularly on television on the "Robert Q. Lewis Show" until
about a year ago.
is coming back," Miss Corey commented. I started work singing for
a band that played Guy Lombardo style. Of course, not all rock 'n'
roll is bad, but I'm partial to standards and ballads."
"I'm working on an album. I liked singing at the Blue Angel so much
because I could sing sad songs. On television they're always in such
a hurry, you move in and out so quickly, that they don't like sad music.
Now I can be sad again with my recordings."
Miss Corey's most popular
current record is a zany, satirical rock 'n' roll opus called "Love Me
to Pieces," which she sang in a "Studio One" drama. It's hit a sales
mark of 500,000, which is not through the roof but high enough to please
Despite the success
of the number, Miss Corey does not have limitless faith in the ability
of television to push a song.
pretty powerful, but it can't do everything," she said. "I did a
song for 'Climax!', 'Let It Be Me,' some time ago. There was no reaction.
It was a pretty ballad, but that wasn't popular at the time. Now
it would go, I bet."
The "Hit Parade"
sets a fast and furious pace for a singer, according to Miss Corey.
She is studying dancing with June Taylor but is not over confident about
generally, there are things you don't run into with recordings and radio,
even when you have a studio audience," she declared. "When I first
came on TV, I had to study with a voice coach who taught me diction and
singing, so that I could hit all the notes without making funny facial
Her ultimate aim in
life, certainly not before her three-year contract for "Hit Parade" runs
out, is to settle in Beverly Hills and act in movies and record songs.
She has never gotten past a screen test, but this is her goal.
However, Miss Corey
is almost as enthusiastic about the stage as she is about Hollywood.
She made two appearances in summer stock, both of them impressive for her.
was easy, " she recalled. "It was 'High Button Shoes' in Kansas City.
If I got caught up in the lines, I could always burst into song sooner
or later. The second was in 'The Reluctant Debutante' in Cincinnati.
I was so nervous about the part, just talking, that after rehearsal, I
called my manager to get me out of it. But I didn't, and it worked
is so real," she said. "In 'The Reluctant Debutante' the actor, playing
a rich man with all sorts of money and castles all over, had to propose
to me each night offering me all of those things. Every night I used
to get goose bumps from that scene. It was wonderful!"