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Ada Leonard, Ina Ray Hutton, Rita Rio and Frances Carroll

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Do any of you have any info on Ada Leonard. She was a beautiful woman, resembling Hedy Lamarr, Ava Gardner, Linda Darnell, Gene Tierney type. All I know is she was a bandleader in the era when female bands came around during ww2 and she was famous for before that as a stripper, consider the top beside Gyspy Rose Lee.


She was in a couple of movies. One with Doris Day in the late 1940s. It seems Ada did more outside of Hollywood but I was wondering since most of you know about stars of that time.


Ina Ray Hutton was the first to have a succesful female and male band in the 1930s and 1940s. She appeared in numerous shorts and movies. She was an attractive blonde bombshell, in the female band era, she sported the Jean Harlow platinum blond do. She was quite a dancer and bandleader but I don't know too much about her personally.


Rita Rio, had a popular female band in the 1940s, she was energetic and charming. She was in films but her name was changed to Dona Drake and another lady had a female band it was called Frances Carroll and her Coquettes, she was really something to, I saw her in a Vitaphone short, TCM showed, anyone know about these ladies? Where they at or anything? I kow Rita Rio, Ada and Ina are dead but what were they like I wonder. Any info I appreciate.

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Ina Ray Hutton, daughter of pianist Marvel Ray, sang and danced in stage revues from the age of 8, culminating in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1934. In mid-1934, she organized an "all-girl" band, the Melodears, featuring hot swing music and Ina Ray's hot dancing in sexy gowns. Ina Ray starred with her band in several Paramount musical shorts, 1935-37, and appeared as herself in a few feature films, but her chief claim to film fame is the starring role in a Columbia musical, Ever Since Venus (1944) (1944). The Melodears broke up in 1939 and Ina Ray organized an all-male band which played through the forties. She was the only woman to lead a prominent Big Band in that era. From 1951-1956 her new all-female band had a show on regional TV, with a brief national network run in 1956. She retired from music in 1968; she was divorced from her fourth husband, businessman 'Jack Curtis' when she died at age 67 of complications from diabetes.



check this out:


Peggy Lee - Peggy Lee (DVD, Music Video Distributors, Female vocalist/swing/jazz)

The DVD also features material from Ina Ray Hutton and Her Melodears and Rita Rio and Her Mistresses of Rhythm.


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  • 13 years later...

Anyone know whatever became of Frances Carroll? Besides being very talented she was quite a stunner, a petite version of Rita Hayworth.

With a little digging I was able to come across the following:



Just wrote to Prof. Tucker, now awaiting a reply. Will share what I learn with this forum.

Ron Landskroner

Oakland CA


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