September 13, 1925
Chicago, Illinois, United States
June 5, 1999
Beverly Hills, California, United States
Ali Severson, Arlene Miles, Janette Scott
Crooner Mel Tormé was a child prodigy, first singing professionally at the age of four. As a teen he played drums in Chico Marx's band, where he earned the nickname The Velvet Fog, due to his buttery baritone. Between 1933 and 1941 he acted on the radio shows "Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy" and "The Romance of Helen Trent." He wrote his first song at 13, and in 1944 graduated from Hyde Park High School. Tormé made his movie debut in the Frank Sinatra film "Higher and Higher" in 1943, and went on to sing and act in many films and TV shows through his career. In 1944 he formed his own singing group and later went solo, singing at the legendary Copacobana. In 1963 Tormé wrote songs and musical arrangements for "The Judy Garland Show." Into the 1980s Tormé made frequent guest appearances as himself on the sitcom comedy "Night Court"; main character Judge Harry T. Stone--and the actor who played him, Harry Anderson--were huge Tormé fans. The singer continued to make inroads into American pop culture in 1995, when he appeared on an episode of the hit sitcom "Seinfeld" in which he serenaded a drooling Kramer.