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Saturday, October 29, 2011

RIP Beryl Davis.....1924-2011

Beryl Davis has passed away.....Rest in Peace

BERYL DAVIS, British Singer - Career Spanned Eight Decades in U.K. and U.S.

British-born Beryl Davis, whose eight-decade career included singing with Maj. Glenn Miller, Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra, has died. She was 87.

The daughter of English band leader Harry Davis, she spent her formative years traveling with his Oscar Rabin-Harry Davis Band and was the band’s featured singer by age eight.

At age 12, she was booked with the Quintet of The Hot Club of France, which featured Django Reinhardt and Stephane GrappellI. After touring for three years and multiple recordings, war broke out. She and Grappelli returned to England, and were joined by a young pianist by the name of George Shearing. That group performed in London clubs throughout the blitz.

Later, she rejoined the Davis/Rabin band and had her own BBC radio show.

She soon came to the attention of Captain Glenn Miller and, on August 17, 1944—the day he was promoted to Major, began singing with his band. She was the only British civilian ever officially attached to the Eighth Air Force, taking her orders directly from General James Doolittle. Her last broadcast with Miller was on December 12, 1944 at the Queensbury Club, and her final number was “I’ll Be Seeing You.” Three days later, Miller took his fateful flight over the English Channel.

After the war, Bob Hope invited her to come to the States to appear on his radio show. Six weeks after her American debut, she was preparing to return to England when Frank Sinatra invited her to join him on “Your Hit Parade” as his singing partner, leading to featured spots with Benny Goodman, Vaughn Monroe, David Rose and many others.

In 1948, she married Hollywood radio and television personality Peter Potter, who was host of “Peter Potter’s Platter Parade” and later, the Emmy-winning nationally-broadcast “Jukebox Jury.” The couple had three children and divorced in 1965.

In 1954, Davis, along with friends Jane Russell, Connie Haines and Della Russell, performed a little-known gospel song entitled “Do Lord” for a church benefit. They recorded the song and it immediately went Gold, selling 2 million copies. Rhonda Fleming later replaced Della Russell and the group continued recording and performing their gospel-inspired show in the nation’s top nightclubs and casino showrooms.

As a solo act, she performed in theaters and concert venues around the globe, and was a regular guest artist at music festivals and events honoring Reinhardt and Miller. She also performed on multiple cruise ships, including Princess Cruises, where she was known as “The First Lady of Song” for over 30 years. She was long admired and respected by the many Big Band musicians with whom she worked.

She was preceded in death by her life partner of 35 years, record executive and concert producer Buck Stapleton, in 2003. They were longtime residents of Toluca Lake, California, where she served as Honorary Mayor. The couple also resided in Palm Springs, California, where she received her star on the Palm Springs Walk of Fame.

On November 11, 2000, she was a special guest at the ground breaking ceremonies of the National WW II Memorial in Washington, D.C. where she sang “I’ll Be Seeing You,” by then her trademark song. Dignitaries that day included President Bill Clinton, who personally commended her performance at a post-event reception.

She is survived by her children, Bill Moore, Merry Moore and Melinda Moore Garber; her sister, Lisa “Cherry” Davis; and grandchildren, Shannon Moore and Asher Ferguson.

Funeral services are planned for 12:30 p.m. on Friday, November 4, 2011 at Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills, Church of the Hills. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Alzheimer’s Association (
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------EDITOR’S NOTE: For additional information, please contact family representative Greg Purdy at 760-808-3650 or

Your superb and greatly under-appreciated vocal artistry will be ever so greatly missed!


  1. That is a worthy tribute.

    Beryl's early Undecided was of course an imitation of Ella's hit of the time, but well carried off even at that tender age.

    And she became a walking and singing example of GOOD Anglo-American relations.

  2. Well carried off is a good way to put it. I thought her voice had a nice maturity to it for her age....can't fault anyone being influenced by, just as I can't fault Ella for being influenced by Connie Boswell and Mildred Bailey early in her career. I'm an instrumentalist in a family of singers...jazz, choral, show tunes, and classical/opera, so I find myself listening to a lot of singers in varied styles. My nearly 14 year old is constantly raiding my music for inspiration as a singer, so I was not surprised that she had Beryl on her list, among many others. She has a little "something" to her voice that Sarah seemed to pick up on.