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A Million Me's
Miss Lee Morse
Lena Corinne Morse
(November 30th 1897 - December 16th 1954)
In this 1930 film short Lee Morse sings "Don't Get Collegiate" for college students, her original "Mail Man Blues" for bar patrons, and "What Wouldn't I Do For That Man" to her sweetheart from a photograph.
Though she appears in this Paramount short performing for small groups in truth Lee much preferred the big stage, complaining of performance anxiety when booked at smaller venues.
Lena Corinne Taylor was born in the small town of Cove, Oregon in 1897 to a family of travailing musical entertainers.
Soon after her birth her family bought a ranch and moved to La Grande, Oregon but lost the property to bank foreclosure in 1908 and settled in Kooskia, Idaho.
After singing professionally for the first time in a local movie house in 1918 Lena left her home and husband Elmer Morse behind to pursue a career in vaudeville on West Coast.
After working in various musicals, in 1922 she joined the Pantages circuit with a fifteen minute act fetching promising reviews, and won a role in the 1923 Broadway hit "Hitchy Koo" starring Raymond Hitchcock.
Beginning her recording career in 1924 on the Pathe label, Lee's peculiar singing voice and expansive vocal range were paramount to her success.
Recording many popular songs including some of her own Lee Morse was often accompanied by a studio group her "Bluegrass Boys" comprised of an alternating lineup of jazz greats.
Things couldn't have been better when Lee landed the lead role in Ziegfeld's "Simple Simon" but her recurring troubles with alcoholism left her unable to perform for the show's February 18th 1930 opening on Broadway.
Ruth Etting took her place at the last minute but the damage was done and though she continued to perform and record for a couple of years Lee Morse slipped quietly from the spotlight.
After several failed attempts to revive her former stardom Lee Morse died suddenly near her home in Rochester, New York on December 16th 1954 while visiting a neighbor.
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