skip navigation
Dinah Shore

Dinah Shore

Up
Down

| VIEW ALL

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here
ADD YOUR COMMENT>

share:

TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)

Recent DVDs

 
 

Oh, God! DVD Popular folk singer John Denver displays his acting talent in this heavenly... more info $5.99was $14.98 Buy Now

Fun And Fancy Free DVD M.I.C.K.E.Y why? Because we love him! Walt Disney voices Mickey Mouse for the... more info $19.99was $19.99 Buy Now

Till The Clouds Roll By... Songwriter Jerome Kern recalls his career on the opening night of his "Show... more info $5.99was $12.98 Buy Now



Also Known As: Frances Rose Shore Died: February 24, 1994
Born: March 1, 1917 Cause of Death: cancer
Birth Place: Winchester, Tennessee, USA Profession: TV host, singer, actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Concealing a leg crippled by childhood polio but refusing to let Hollywood correct her distinctive Southern accent, Tennessee-born Dinah Shore symbolized small-town American sweetness during World War II, as a U.S.O. songbird for lonely servicemen stationed overseas. A discovery of Eddie Cantor, Shore made her film debut alongside the radio star in Warner Brothers' wartime morale-booster "Thank Your Lucky Stars" (1943), but it was as a recording artist that she achieved true fame. A chart-topper for RCA Victor, Columbia, and Capitol Records, Shore transitioned easily from radio to live television. Between 1951 and 1992, she was rarely off the air, hosting a variety of talk shows that emphasized her front porch folksiness while making it seem as if she were every Hollywood A-lister's next-door neighbor. Quietly divorcing two husbands, including actor George Montgomery, Shore settled for single life in her fifties - a solitude broken by an extended involvement with younger man and then-reigning box office star Burt Reynolds. Though she had never so much as knocked a golf ball into a Dixie cup, Shore loaned her name and prestige to an annual tournament sponsored by the Ladies Professional Golf...

Concealing a leg crippled by childhood polio but refusing to let Hollywood correct her distinctive Southern accent, Tennessee-born Dinah Shore symbolized small-town American sweetness during World War II, as a U.S.O. songbird for lonely servicemen stationed overseas. A discovery of Eddie Cantor, Shore made her film debut alongside the radio star in Warner Brothers' wartime morale-booster "Thank Your Lucky Stars" (1943), but it was as a recording artist that she achieved true fame. A chart-topper for RCA Victor, Columbia, and Capitol Records, Shore transitioned easily from radio to live television. Between 1951 and 1992, she was rarely off the air, hosting a variety of talk shows that emphasized her front porch folksiness while making it seem as if she were every Hollywood A-lister's next-door neighbor. Quietly divorcing two husbands, including actor George Montgomery, Shore settled for single life in her fifties - a solitude broken by an extended involvement with younger man and then-reigning box office star Burt Reynolds. Though she had never so much as knocked a golf ball into a Dixie cup, Shore loaned her name and prestige to an annual tournament sponsored by the Ladies Professional Golf Association, the long-running Dinah Shore-Colgate Invitational. Poised, approachable, and serene even through the diagnosis of ovarian cancer that claimed her life in 1994, Dinah Shore remained for her legion of fans a touchstone to a more genteel America and a symbol of downhome values uncorrupted by upward mobility.

Frances Rose Shore was born on Feb. 29, 1916, in Winchester, TN. The second and youngest child of Russian Jewish immigrants, Fannie Shore grew up in an atmosphere of Southern prejudice, where Ku Klux Klan members were regulars at her father's dry goods store. When she was 18 months old, Shore contracted poliomyelitis and was nursed by her parents through a long convalescence and six years of physical therapy that left her with a crippled foot and a noticeable limp. From her mother, a gifted amateur contralto, Shore developed an interest in singing, a talent she used to entertain customers at her father's department store in McMinnville, where the family relocated in 1924. Shortly after enrolling in Nashville's Hume-Fog High School, Shore lied about her age to work as a singer in a downtown nightclub. The 14-year-old made $10 for her first professional performance but her parents, who had found out about the deception, put a temporary end to her dreams of becoming a professional singer.

During her high school years, Shore auditioned as a singer in Nashville and made her radio debut at WSM, an AM station that broadcast the weekly Grand Olde Opry country music revue, the longest-running radio program in history. When she was 16, Shore's mother died suddenly, of a heart attack, a tragedy that fortified her resolved to follow her dream of singing professionally. Though she studied sociology at Vanderbilt University - where she was the school's only Jewish cheerleader - and earned a degree in 1938, Shore headed to New York City, where she worked odd jobs before making her national radio debut in 1939. The following year, Shore won a spot as a vocalist on WNEW in Manhattan. Singing the Harry Akst-Sam M. Lewis-Joe Young song "Dinah," Shore became known via one prominent disk jockey as Dinah Girl, which prompted Fannie Shore to adopt the professional name by which she would be known for the rest of her life.

Dinah Shore's popularity on the radio led to her signing a recording contract with RCA Victor in 1940. Gaining an advocate in radio and film star Eddie Cantor (a fellow Russian-Jew, who had changed his surname from Iskowitz), Shore became a regular on his weekly program, "Time to Smile." Buying the rights to "Yes My Darling Daughter," a Ukrainian folk song adapted and translated into English, Cantor encouraged Shore to record the single for RCA Victor's subsidiary label Bluebird; the record became a hit, selling more than 500,000 copies. Traveling to Europe with the U.S.O. during World War II, Shore was also popular with American troops, taking care to hide her warped leg under long skirts and dresses. In 1943, she hosted her own radio program, whose title would change due to the influence of various sponsors from "Birds Eye Open House" and "The Ford Show" to "Call to Music" and "The Dinah Shore-Harry James Show" before its cancelation in 1948. Shore made her feature film debut alongside a parade of film and radio stars in Warner Brothers' morale-boosting revue "Thank Your Lucky Stars" (1943).

Having transitioned from New York City to Hollywood, and enjoyed romances with drummer Gene Krupa and actor James Stewart, Shore eventually settled into a relationship with actor George Montgomery, whom she lured away from the exquisitely beautiful actress Hedy Lamarr and married in 1943. In 1944, Shore had her first No. 1 hit with Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn's "I'll Walk Alone." For producer Samuel Goldwyn, she played Danny Kaye's leading lady in the wartime comedy "Up in Arms" (1944). Shore was squeezed into dancehall duds and paired with cowboy actor Randolph Scott for "Belle of the Yukon" (1944), a Western drama with songs courtesy of Shore and co-star Gypsy Rose Lee. The same year she turned up in a guest appearance in MGM's Technicolor Jerome Kern biopic "Till the Clouds Roll By" (1946) Shore signed with Columbia Records, for whom she had hits in "Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy" and "Buttons and Bows." A natural brunette, she made the professional choice at this time to dye her hair a honey gold, which helped put her across to fans as a bright ray of Tennessee sunshine - a look and an aspect she would maintain for life.

Focused on her recording career and in making inroads into live television, Shore stepped into a one-off leading role in Paramount's disposable hayseed musical comedy "Aaron Slick from Pumpkin Crick" (1952), playing a rural songbird exploited by big city mobsters and redeemed by the love of farm boy Alan Young. By 1950, Shore had returned to RCA, with whom she brokered an unusual business deal - agreeing to record 100 sides for $1,000,000. She enjoyed two popular duets with crooner Tony Martin in 1951 but after 1954, she would never again chart above No. 10. Shore remained with RCA until 1959 before switching to Capitol Records for several collaborations with composer Nelson Riddle. Beginning in November 1951, Shore hosted the 15-minute "The Dinah Shore Show" (NBC, 1951-56), branching out in the final season to headline the hour-long "The Dinah Shore Chevy Show" (NBC, 1956-1963), whose guests included Frank Sinatra, Julie Andrews, Nat King Cole and Boris Karloff.

Despite aging into her middle years by the mid-Sixties, Shore retained a youthful aspect, a charming Southern softness - topped off by a singing voice rooted in a seductive lower register - and a broad-based appeal that made her a welcome guest star on the small screen. She played herself in two episodes of "Make Room for Daddy" (ABC/CBS, 1953-1965) and a 1971 episode of "Here's Lucy" (CBS, 1968-1974) while guesting on "The Danny Kaye Show" (CBS, 1963-67), "The Ed Sullivan Show" (NBC, 1948-1971) and "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In" (NBC, 1967-1973). In 1971, Shore hosted the daytime magazine-style "Dinah's Place" (NBC, 1971-74), on which she encouraged such Hollywood friends as Frank Sinatra, Rock Hudson, Jack Benny, and Vincent Price to share special talents or abilities with her viewing audience while also welcoming such sports figures as Billie Jean King and Wilt Chamberlain, as well as then-sitting Vice President Spiro T. Agnew. "Dinah's Place" was sponsored by Colgate-Palmolive, with whom Shore would enjoy a long and lucrative association. Despite an Emmy win in 1974, NBC dropped the show from their morning line-up to make room for a game show.

Rebounding from her 1963 divorce from Montgomery, Shore wed Palm Springs building contractor Maurice F. Smith but the union was short-lived. She would never again remarry, but in 1972 began a high-profile romance with actor Burt Reynolds, 19 years her junior and a top-ranking box office star and sex symbol. In the ensuing years, Shore would host two more talk shows - the syndicated "Dinah!" (later, "Dinah and Friends") (1974-1980) and "A Conversation with Dinah" (1989-1992), which ran on The Nashville Network. Shore also headlined a number of hour-long network specials and the summer replacement series "Dinah and Her New Best Friends" (CBS, 1976). She contributed a fun cameo to "Peewee's Playhouse Christmas Special" (1988), on which her exhausting rendition of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" was a running gag.

Though she had never played golf in her life, Shore gave the loan of her name to the Ladies Professional Golf Association tournament known as the Colgate Dinah Shore Invitational (later the Kraft Nabisco Championship) and cracked the publishing world with a series of cookbooks. Diagnosed with ovarian cancer, Dinah Shore died on Feb. 24, 1994, less than a week before her 78th birthday. Recipient of three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame - for her accomplishments in recording, films, and television - nine gold records, 10 Emmys, a Golden Globe, and a Peabody Award, Shore was also honored with streets named after her in Cathedral City, CA, and her birth place of Winchester, TN. A month after her death, Shore was also elected posthumously into the LPGA Hall of Fame.

by Richard Harland Smith.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Entertaining the Troops (1989) Herself
2.
 Death Car on the Freeway (1979) Lynn Bernheimer
3.
 Oh, God! (1977) Herself
4.
 Aaron Slick from Punkin Crick (1952) Josie Berry
5.
 Till the Clouds Roll By (1947) Julia Sanderson
6.
 Fun and Fancy Free (1947) Narrator of "Bongo"
7.
 Make Mine Music (1946) The Song, "Two Silhouettes"
8.
 Follow the Boys (1944)
9.
 Belle of the Yukon (1944) Lettie Candless
10.
 Up in Arms (1944) Virginia [Merrill]
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Contracted polio in her right leg when she was young; an exercise regimen of tennis and swimming enabled her to overcome it
:
Made her radio debut on the Nashville station WSM on a 15-minute program while still in college
1938:
Moved to New York; found a job singing on radio station WNEW
1938:
Began performing on NBC radio later that year
1939:
Performed at the Strand Theater in New York in a two-week gig singing with Leo Reisman's orchestra
1940:
Performed regularly on the NBC radio program, "The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street"
1940:
Signed record contract with RCA Victor; enjoyed first hits, "Yes, My Darling Daughter" and "The Breeze and I" (the latter sung with the Xavier Cugat orchestra)
1940:
Guested regularly on Eddie Cantor's radio show, "Time to Smile"
1943:
Began hosting her own radio program, sponsored by General Foods
1943:
Feature film debut, in the all-star musical revue, "Thank Your Lucky Stars"
1944:
First #1 song hit, "I'll Walk Alone"
1944:
Busiest year in film; appeared in three films, and played most prominent feature film role, opposite Danny Kaye in "Up in Arms"
1946:
Last feature film appearances for six years, the all-star musical biopic of Jerome Kern, "Till the Clouds Roll By" and the Disney feature combining live action with animation, "Make Mine Music"
1947:
Supplied offscreen narration for the "Bongo" segment of the Disney cartoon anthology feature, "Fun and Fancy Free"; also sang several songs
:
Gave up on a film career; signed new recording contract with Columbia
:
Appeared regularly on radio in the late 1940s on the "Pabst Blue Ribbon Show", also starring Eddie Cantor
:
Began on TV hosting and performing on the 15-minute musical program, "The Dinah Shore Show"
1952:
One-shot return to films in a lead role, "Aaron Slick from Punkin Crick"
:
Hosted TV's "The Dinah Shore Chevy Show", an expansion to one hour of her earlier 15-minute program
1961:
Made TV dramatic debut in an adaptation of Noel Coward's "Brief Encounter" (previously filmed by David Lean)
:
Retired from TV for a number of years to spend more time raising her children; performed occasionally in live engagements, including many supper club appearances
1965:
Hosted the TV variety special, "The Dinah Shore Special", a salute to the Peace Corps
1969:
Hosted the TV special, "The Dinah Shore Special--Like Hep"
:
Hosted the TV talk show, "Dinah's Place"
1972:
Hosted the TV comedy special, "How to Handle a Woman"
:
Hosted the Nabisco Dinah Shore Classic golf tournament, held annually in Palm Springs FL (date approximate)
1973:
Hosted the NBC comedy special, "Dinah in Search of the Ideal Man"
:
Hosted the TV talk show, "Dinah!"
1976:
Hosted the CBS summer variety series, "Dinah and Her New Best Friends"
1977:
Last film: a cameo appearance as herself in the feature, "Oh, God!"
:
Hosted the TV talk show, "Dinah and Friends"
1988:
Appeared on the special, "Pee Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special", to sing "The 12 Days of Christmas"
1989:
Appeared in footage in the feature documentary, "Entertaining the Troops"
:
Hosted a weekly program on the Nashville Network, "A Conversation with Dinah"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Vanderbilt University: Nashville , Tennessee - 1939

Notes

She was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 1992.

Shore's eight Emmys make her the most honored female in the award's history.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
George Montgomery. Actor. Married December 5, 1943; divorced 1962; rugged star of primarily "B" action films, especially Westerns, in the 1940s and 50s; was with Shore when she died.
husband:
Maurice F Smith. Professional tennis player. Married May 26, 1963; divorced 1964.
companion:
Burt Reynolds. Actor, director. Was involved with Shore in a much-publicized romance for six years.

Family close complete family listing

father:
S A Shore. Businessman. Was a partner in a department store.
mother:
Anna Shore.
daughter:
Melissa Ann Hime. Survived her; father George Montgomery.
son:
John David Montgomery. Survived her; father George Montgomery.
granddaughter:
Jennifer Hime. Mother Melissa Ann Hime; survived her.
grandson:
Adam Hime. Mother Melissa Ann Hime; survived her.
grandson:
Alexander Hime. Mother Melissa Ann Hime; survived her.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Someone's in the Kitchen with Dinah"
"The Dinah Shore American Kitchen"

Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.

Click here to contribute