Regular readers will recall that I often write about ‘crooners’ and ‘songbirds’ — the vocalists of the big band era. In fact, if you put either word into the ‘search’ space on the left side you’ll find lots of evidence of my fondness for them. That being the case, I thought maybe it was time to feature another — a tall, gorgeous brunette named Ginny Simms.
Virginia Ellen Simms was born in Texas but grew up in California, where she began performing in the early 1930s as part of a college singing group. It must have worked out pretty well, because she embarked on a full-time career, and after a few years gaining experience she was signed as a singer by popular bandleader Kay Kyser.
Fans loved her and so did Kyser, who reportedly pursued her romantically. In addition to her regular singing duties, she was also one of the regulars on Kay Kyser’s Kollege of Musical Knowlege, a comedy and musical routine that the group used in its live shows, on the radio, and even in movies.
Her association with Kyser continued during the early War years but she also began to venture into other areas, including the hosting of her own radio show. It became a huge hit with servicemen, not only for the music but also because she would often talk to them on the air and let them say hello to families at home.
She also made a number of movies, and although she was mostly chosen for singing roles she had beauty and star quality to spare. Although she didn’t become a huge movie star, she was often in the center of the Hollywood limelight, dating stars and movie big shots and eventually marrying hotel magnate Hyatt von Dehn.
In the post-war years, things would begin to slow down a little and by the early 1950s Ginny Simms was pretty much retired from performing and had left Hollywood — and Hyatt — behind. She would later become a very active businesswoman, working with her third husband in real estate. She died in 1994.