Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
(b 2 Sep. 1896, David City NE; d 24 Sep. '78) Singer. No musical training; studied design in Chicago, did costume work in Chicago clubs, then sang in the clubs and in a theatre revue chorus. Married her manager, Chicago mobster Martin (Moe the Gimp) Snyder '22. Moved to NYC for big break in Ziegfeld Follies Of 1927 with Eddie Cantor, introduced Irving Berlin's 'Shaking The Blues Away', leading to more good material: 'Love Me Or Leave Me' in Whoopee '28 (also sang her own song 'Maybe -- Who Knows?'), 'Get Happy' in 9:15 Revue, Rodgers and Hart's 'Ten Cents A Dance' in Simple Simon '30 (from then on her song). In Ziegfeld Follies Of 1931 she portrayed veteran contralto Nora Bayes, sang 'Shine On Harvest Moon' which Bayes introduced in Follies of 1908. Guested on radio early '30s, own shows '35--6; meanwhile to Hollywood for films '33, incl. Cantor money-spinner Roman Scandals, then Gift Of The Gab and Hips Hips Hooray; on London stage '36 for Ray Henderson's Transatlantic Rhythm. Left Snyder, who responded by shooting her piano player, prospective second husband, who recovered. Had own radio show again '47--8, then a long and happy retirement. She was the Queen of the Torch Singers, a genre that incl. Libby Holman, Fanny Brice and Helen Morgan, but Etting was bigger than any of them; MGM biopic Love Me Or Leave Me '55 had Doris Day slapped around by James Cagney. Compilations: Original Recordings on Columbia reissue '55, then Hello, Baby '26--31 on Biograph, Ten Cents A Dance '26--30 on ASV; radio airchecks on Totem and Sandy Hook.