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Lynn, Vera (1917–)

Lynn, Vera (1917–)

English popular singer. Name variations: Dame Vera Lynn; Mrs. Harry Lewis. Born Vera Margaret Welch, Mar 20, 1917; m. Harry Lewis (clarinetist and tenor saxophonist), 1941; children: Virginia Lewis (b. 1946).

One of the most beloved singers in England during WWII, gave 1st performance at a workingmen's club at age 7 (1924); made 1st radio broadcast, with Joe Loss Band (1935); joined Charlie Kunz's Casani Club Band (1935); signed with Crown Records (1935), which was purchased by Decca (1938); sang with Ambrose Orchestra, the most popular "big band" in Britain (1937–40); had own BBC radio program "Sincerely Yours" (1941–47), in which she played record requests and sang songs of her own, including "It's a Lovely Day Tomorrow," "Wish Me Luck," "Yours," "Smilin' Through," "When They Sound the Last All Clear," "We'll Meet Again" (the most popular song in Britain in 1941), and "The White Cliffs of Dover"; starred in Applesauce at London Palladium (1941); filmed We'll Meet Again (1942), Rhythm Serenade (1943) and One Exciting Night (1944); entertained British troops in Burma and elsewhere (1944–45); recording of "You Can't Be True, Dear" made American hit parade (1948); achieved the same success the following year with "Again"; was a regular on Tallulah Bankhead's US radio program The Big Show (1951); recorded "Aufwiederseh'n" (1952) which sold over 12 million copies and made her the 1st British artist to top the US hit parade (1952); had 14 gold records. Awarded Order of the British Empire (OBE, 1969) and Dame of the British Empire (DBE, 1975); granted honorary Doctor of Letters from University of Newfoundland, Canada, where she established the Lynn Musical Scholarship (1978); awarded Commander of the Order of Orange-Nassau (1985); awarded Burma Star (1985).

See also autobiographies Vocal Refrain (1975) and We'll Meet Again (1989); and Women in World History.

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