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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
“A woman of great courage and distinction … she served as a beacon of courage and fortitude for our soldiers and was a hero among them.” –Walter Cronkite
AMERICAN POPULAR SINGER JANE FROMAN (1907-1980)
FOLLOWED BY NATIONAL DVD RELEASE OF HER ACCLAIMED LIFE STORY,
Best-Selling Vocalist’s Dramatic Life Was Immortalized
Never Before Released on Home Video
New Book by Barbara Seuling, Subtitled “A Story of Amazing Grit and Indomitable Spirit,” is First In-Depth Portrait of Legendary Singer
Jane Froman, a clarion-voiced, open-hearted singer of American popular song – whose dramatic life was immortalized in the 20th Century-Fox musical, “With A Song in My Heart” (1952), starring Susan Hayward – will be remembered and celebrated during November with a three-day Birthday Centennial; a new, in-depth biography, "Say It With Music" by Barbara Seuling; and, for the first time ever on home video, the national DVD release of the acclaimed Oscar®- and Golden Globe-winning depiction of her life.
Throughout the weekend of November 9-11, 2007, a series of events, concerts, remembrances and screenings will take place in Columbia, Missouri, the town she considered home. The following Tuesday (November 13), 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment will release “With A Song in My Heart” on DVD.
“There is a sound in her voice that is God given ... she is a singer for the ages ..–
“There are many of us who knew and revered Jane,” said Barbara Buoncristiano, Co-Chair of the Jane Froman Centennial Committee. “Now, after years of special pleas, we are thrilled that the DVD release of ‘With A Song in My Heart’ comes right on the heels of the Centennial celebration. And we are especially excited by the publication of Barbara Seuling’s new biography of Jane, ‘Say It With Music.’ We trust that these honors will secure a renewed awareness of Jane’s glorious, popular sound, and guarantee her a place on the Honor Roll of America’s great vocalists.”
On the Jane Froman Centennial Honorary Committee to date are singer Barbara Cook, pianist and bandleader Peter Duchin, songwriter Ervin Drake (who wrote Froman’s bestseller, “I Believe”), performer and musical archivist Michael Feinstein, Gertrude Feller (widow of musical director/arranger Sid Feller), radio personality Jim Lowe, singer Jane Olivor, movie musical star Jane Powell, and singer Kay Starr, renowned opera soprano Shirley Verrett, and singer Andy Williams.
The Missouri native, who died in 1980, was a recording star who was about to embark on a USO tour in 1943 when the airplane carrying her and other passengers overseas crashed in Lisbon, Portugal. For nearly the rest of her life, Froman was to endure a grueling series of operations on her right leg, yet her commitment to the USO, American servicemen and - women, and singing never wavered.
She returned to Europe to sing for the war’s wounded soldiers in 1945, using crutches to keep her standing, and her stirring voice reminded the soldiers of patriotism and the places they called home. After the successful release of the popular film – for which Froman provided fresh vocals, making the soundtrack the #1 bestselling record of 1952 – she made frequent television appearances and even had her own show on CBS. She retired in 1961 and lived the rest of her life in Columbia.
During the centennial celebration, a special digital print of “With A Song in My Heart” will be shown, courtesy of Fox Home Entertainment. Making a special appearance will be Robert Easton, who appears in the film as a young G.I. In addition, a comprehensive selection of Froman’s film and TV appearances also will be screened, and author Barbara Seuling, author of the new Froman biography from Boxing Day Books, will be on hand for book signings and reminiscences.
The Technicolor® production of “With A Song in My Heart” stars Susan Hayward, who received an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe as Best Actress for her portrayal of Froman. Famed Hollywood composer Alfred Newman won an Academy Award for his Musical Direction of “With A Song in My Heart,” which features over two dozen songs performed by Froman with the giant 20th Century-Fox Orchestra; Charles Le Maire won for Best Costume Design (Color); and Thomas T. Moulton won for Best Sound Recording. The film won a Golden Globe as Best Motion Picture (Musical/Comedy), and writer/producer Lamar Trotti won a Writers Guild of America USA Award for Best Written American Musical.
The best-selling soundtrack recording, originally issued by Capitol Records, is now available on CD on the DRG label, paired with a recording of Rodgers and Hart’s “Pal Joey,” also featuring Froman.
Also in the cast of “With A Song in My Heart” are David Wayne, Rory Calhoun, Thelma Ritter (Oscar-nominated as Best Supporting Actress), Una Merkel, and in a small but influential role, Robert Wagner. Wagner recalls, on a commentary track recorded for the Fox DVD of “Let’s Make It Legal,” that Darryl F. Zanuck suggested he play the part of a wounded soldier in “With A Song in My Heart,” one picked out of a crowd by Froman as she sings.
“What do you mean?” said Wagner. “I’m on the screen for three minutes all in all.”
“If this picture hits,” said Zanuck, “they’ll come out of the theatre and they’ll say, ‘Who was that guy who played that part?’”
“And,” says Wagner, “that’s exactly what happened!”
In Missouri, a variety of events – in addition to those already mentioned - will include a reception; a special proclamation by the Mayor of Columbia; a roundtable discussion with Robert Paulson, Froman’s driver in France in 1945; an exhibition celebrating her career; additional book signings by Ilene Stone, author of a biography of Froman published by University of Missouri Press, as well as a biography of her later years; oral histories taken of those who knew and worked with her; and special performances in her honor by Columbia College’s Jane Froman Singers and singer Valerie Lemon.
“I used to listen to her
For more information about the weekend’s events and lodging, go to www.janefroman.com. Donations can also be made there to assist in underwriting the cost of the celebration.
Midwest Airlines is the Preferred Carrier for the Jane Froman Centennial. For information about special fares, see www.janefroman.com. Special thanks to the Columbia (MO.) Convention and Visitors Bureau.
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