Yesterday we discussed the most famous of this week’s Shirleys. Today, we swing in the opposite direction.
Have you ever heard of Shirley Ross? Raise your hands. Thought so.
Ross was a name of sorts during the Thirties and Forties. Most people know about her famous duet with Bob Hope.
Do yourself a favor. Try and catch Ross and Hope singing their bittersweet romantic ballad, Thanks for the Memory, from the 1938 movie The Big Broadcast.
Ross is superb in conveying the deeply mixed feeling of an ex-wife with warm recollections of the cad she was married to (Hope). Ross looks great, sings superbly and creates a cinematic highlight that still packs an emotional punch.
Thanks for the Memory, a straightforward melodic line overlayed with surprisingly deft and sophisticated lyrics, won the best original song Oscar. The work of Ralph Rainger and Leo Robin, it lost its original emotional connection when it became Hope’s career signature song no matter the context.
The former Bernice Gaunt was born in 1913 in Omaha, and died of cancer in 1975. Despite her enviable gifts — she was a big band singer and also a pianist — her ambition to become a bigtime film musical star never materialized.
Her career consisted of just 30 credits covering a dozen years beginning in 1933.
What’s not to like in this shot from 1939’s Paris Honeymoon.
And, finally, Ross’ swan song in 1945.