Bayes, Nora (1880–1928)

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Bayes, Nora (1880–1928)

American singer and actress. Born Dora (also cited as Leonora or Eleanor) Goldberg in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (various sources also cite Los Angeles and Chicago as birth places), in 1880; died in New York City on March 19, 1928; married Jack Norwood, in 1908, one of five husbands.

Once billed as "The Greatest Single Woman Singing Comedienne in the World," Nora Bayes made her vaudeville debut in Chicago in 1899 and appeared on Broadway for the first time two years later in The Rogers Brothers in Washington. She gained recognition in 1902, with her rendition of Harry von Tilzer's song "Down Where the Wurzburger Flows," which she performed at the Orpheum Theatre in Brooklyn, New York. Bayes toured in variety shows and musicals in Europe from 1904 to 1907, then returned to appear in the first edition of the Ziegfeld Follies (1907). In 1908, she married and teamed with Jack Norworth (together billed as "Nora Bayes, Assisted and Admired by Jack Norworth").

As a fixture in Broadway and London musicals, Bayes introduced and popularized many songs, including "Has Anyone Here Seen Kelly?," "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," "Japanese Sandman," and George M. Cohan's rousing World War I song, "Over There." Her theme song, "Shine on Harvest Moon," was written by Norwood and introduced in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1908. In 1919, she inaugurated the Nora Bayes Roof at the 44th Street Theatre, with a performance in the musical Ladies First. She later appeared in Her Family Tree (1920), Snapshots of 1921, and Queen o'Hearts (1922). Small in stature and large of voice, Bayes was considered a master at delivering a song, particularly in her gestures and facial expressions. The actress died on March 19, 1928.

Barbara Morgan , Melrose, Massachusetts.