Mel Torme

Mel Torme

Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA
Death 5 Jun 1999 (aged 73)
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Section B, Lot 114
Memorial ID 5612 · View Source
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Jazz Singer, Actor. Nicknamed "The Velvet Fog”, he was one of the most successful jazz singers of the 20th Century. Born Melvin Howard Torma in Chicago, Illinois to a musical family, his father, a Russian immigrant owned a dry goods store. He began singing publicly at the age of four at a restaurant, then make his professional debut with the Coon-Sanders Orchestra. At age nine, he was doing parts for Chicago radio plays "Romance of Helen Trent" and "Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy" while a snare drummer in the Shakespeare Elementary School drum and bugle corps in Chicago. In high school, he formed his own band and sold his first written song, "Lament of Love," to Harry James who made a recording. In early 1940, he quit high school to become a singer, drummer and arranger with Chico Marx's band. In 1944, Mel Torme formed his own vocal group, the “Mel-Tones” which produced the hit, "What is This Thing Called Love?" which has become a jazz standard. He was drafted for a time during World War II but was quickly discharged with flat feet. He became a successful solo artist in 1947 and soon had a number one hit in "Careless Love." He made over fifty albums during his career, with many considering his best work his collaborations with jazz pianist George Shearing on the releases, "An Evening With George Shearing and Mel Torme" and "Top Drawer" which earned him a Granny for Best Male Jazz Vocalist in 1982 and 1983. He also made a career with television guest appearances on programs like “Spike Jones Show”, “The Judy Garland Show”, “The Lucy Show”, “The Tonight Show, Starring Johnny Carson” and the situation comedy “Night Court”, and made one time appearances on programs like “Playhouse 90” (where he was nominated best supporting actor Emmy for his role in "The Comedian") “The Virginian”, “The Mike Douglas Show”, “The Hollywood Palace”, “The Bold Ones: The Lawyers, Chase” and “Seinfeld”. Torme performed constantly in Las Vegas, Nevada and jazz clubs around the country, and composed over 300 songs. He wrote his own biography "It Wasn't All Velvet" in 1988, a biographies of his life-long friend, drummer Buddy Rich and a scathing telltale book "The Other Side of the Rainbow: Behind the Scenes on the Judy Garland Television series. He suffered a stroke in 1996 and was hospitalized preventing him from making his annual performance at the Hollywood Bowl. His health steadily declined while enduring intermittent hospital stays, and passed away at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, California three years later at age 73. Mel Torme was inducted into the Big Band Jazz Hall of Fame in 1990. In February 1999, he was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. His plaque on the Hollywood Walk of Fame honors his excellence in recording.

Bio by: Donald Greyfield

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"Music, the greatest good that mortals know
And all of heaven we have below"


"So many gifts, so lovingly shared"



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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 7 Jun 1999
  • Find a Grave Memorial 5612
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Mel Torme (13 Sep 1925–5 Jun 1999), Find a Grave Memorial no. 5612, citing Westwood Memorial Park, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .