Glenn Miller Orchestra Vocalist Passes

One of the better known voices of the Glenn Miller Orchestra was heard by millions- and yet never seen. Helen Patricia Friday (born 1921, died June 21, 2016) also known as Pat Friday, was born in Idaho and whose singing career highlight was working as a “ghost singer” for the world famous Glenn Miller Orchestra on Miller’s two Fox films “Orchestra Wives” and “Sun Valley Serenade”.

Friday recorded (or “looped”) several vocals for on-screen actress Lynn Bari, but was never credited on film. Friday sang “I Know Why (And So Do You)”, the original vocal version of “At Last”, and “Serenade in Blue” in the movies “Sun Valley Serenade” and “Orchestra Wives.” Miller and his band appeared in two Twentieth Century Fox films. In 1941’s “Sun Valley Serenade”, they were major members of the cast, which also featured comedian Milton Berle, and Dorothy Dandridge with the Nicholas Brothers in the breathtaking song and dance number, Chattanooga Choo Choo.

The Miller Orchestra returned to Hollywood to film 1942’s Orchestra Wives, which featured Jackie Gleason playing a part as the film’s bassist, ‘Ben Beck’. Harry Morgan appears as ‘Cully Anderson’ (the group’s pianist), the unrequited love interest of Ann Rutherford’s character, Connie Ward. Glenn Miller’s Orchestra was contracted to do a third movie for Fox whose working title was “Blind Date”, but the film with Miller never made it to production as Miller volunteered for the US Army in September of 1942 before filming began.

While a student at the University of California, Los Angeles, Pat Friday was also a singer on the Don Ameche Show, then sponsored by Old Gold Cigarettes for the NBC Radio Network. A music magazine article at the time noted, “In order to attend rehearsals she has to cut afternoon classes at school… but she makes up by spending all the time she can in a corner of the studio, carefully doing her homework.”

While Pat Friday will best be remembered for her work with Glenn Miller, she also worked with Roy Rogers, although she once told an interviewer that she did not care for Rogers’ style of music.