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 Jane Froman

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Jane Froman

  • Original Name Ellen
  • Birth 10 Nov 1907 University City, St. Louis County, Missouri, USA
  • Death 22 Apr 1980 Columbia, Boone County, Missouri, USA
  • Burial Columbia, Boone County, Missouri, USA
  • Memorial ID 5971689

Singer, Actress, Humanitarian. She was the child of Elmer and Anna Froman born in University City, Missouri just outside of St Louis. Her mother Anna was well schooled and accomplished in the field of music. The couple would divorce when Jane was five. Daughter and mother would return to Anna's hometown of Clinton to live. At twelve, the family moved to Columbia where her mother began teaching music, first at Christian College and then St. Stevens College. Upon graduation from Columbia High School, Jane enrolled at Christian College coming away with an associate degree in French then continued her education by enrolling at the University of Missouri's School of Journalism. Her talent came to light while starring in a school revue called "Bagdaddies." She quit school going on to Cincinnati to study voice at the Conservatory of Music. Her nearly three decade career in show business had begun and it would cover all & television, recording, nightclub performing and appearances in Broadway shows and Hollywood films. Still at the Conservatory, she sang and did commercials on Cincinnati radio station WLW. With a voice fit for opera, she was a guest singer with the Cincinnati Symphony. Jane was hired by NBC radio where she received wide exposure resulting in theater offers and guest appearances in New York City. After a move to the city, she began singing on the Chesterfield program which led to the Ziegfield Follies. Froman made her first film, "Stars Over Broadway" in 1935, then returned to New York to continue in radio and theater. Her second movie "Radio City Revels" was another musical made in 1938. In 1940, she added a new dimension to her career with nightclub appearances while starring in "Keep Off the Grass" on Broadway." The war began, she quickly volunteered for duty with the USO and began entertaining the troops. On the way to Europe aboard a USO plane, it would crash in the Tagus River at Lisbon, killing 25 of those aboard. She suffered severe life threatening injuries. After becoming stable and able to return home, Jane would endure years of rehabilitation and many surgeries before she was again able to walk without supports. Her courageous return in the postwar to entertain wounded troops still in Europe was the stellar success story in the history of the fabled USO. Now walking with the aid of crutches, she was able to entertain while giving encouragement to the men. In 1952, 20th Century Fox produced the 1952 award winning movie, "With a Song in My Heart." starring Susan Hayward. The soundtrack throughout the movie was the voice of Jane Froman and became a best-selling album. CBS set her up with her own show first called, "USA Canteen" and later simply "The Jane Froman Show" which ran for three seasons. "I Believe" a song that emerged from the show was recorded by Jane and became a number one seller earning her a gold record. From the time of the airplane disaster, Jane's career was impacted. Unable to walk, she rode on and off the stage in a disguised motorized wheel chair. She paid medical bills by doing club dates using a mobile electrically powered piano. More operations became necessary in the mid-1950s, this time for spinal problems. The total number of operations which Froman underwent numbered near forty. In 1962, now able to walk without supports but still wearing a brace. she was simply exhausted from performing, and called it a day retiring at age 55 to her home town Columbia, Missouri. She did not disappear but her post show business days would be busy as she continued with volunteer work embracing many needy causes while staging benefits to raise money. She was active in Christian College alumnae activities, her church and Columbia civic affairs. Her pet project was the Jane Froman Foundation which helped construct the children's hospital at the Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas. She remained a trustee of the Menninger Foundation. In 1980, she died of cardiac arrest due to chronic heart and lung disease. Legacy...The Boone County Historical Museum in Columbia, Missouri, serves as a repository for Jane Froman memorabilia. Her paper collection was donated to the University of Missouri. It comprises material from radio, movie musicals, the USO, theater and club appearances, television and popular music of the 1930's through the 1950.

Bio by: Donald Greyfield

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Ron Moody
  • Added: 19 Nov 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 5971689
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Jane Froman (10 Nov 1907–22 Apr 1980), Find A Grave Memorial no. 5971689, citing Columbia Cemetery, Columbia, Boone County, Missouri, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .