Lucille Wood Smith, 31 October 1912, Uvalde, Texas, USA, d. 7 February 2001, Apple Valley, California, USA. Her name was changed to Frances Octavia during her childhood, which was spent in Texas and Arkansas. Smiths first 15 years included some major traumas, having a nervous breakdown at 11, being married at 14 (by lying about her age), becoming a mother at 15, and divorced at 17. After unsuccessfully seeking a singing career in Chicago and Memphis (with a new husband and baby to look after), she moved to WHAS Louisville. Although she auditioned as Marion Lee, she found herself named Dale Evans by the station manager and in spite of her own reservations, the name stuck. She divorced her second husband before marrying pianist Robert Dale Butts from WHAS. Still harbouring aspirations towards a singing career, she returned to Chicago as a jazz singer. She toured the Midwest as vocalist with an orchestra and sang with Fats Waller. Eventually, owing to a...
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