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Martha Mears

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Martha Mears
Martha Mears as she was pictured in the July 1934 issue of Radio Stars magazine
Martha Mears

July 18, 1910
DiedDecember 13, 1986(1986-12-13) (aged 76)
Alma materUniversity of Missouri

Martha Mears (July 18, 1910 – December 13, 1986)[citation needed] was a radio and film contralto[1] singer, active from the 1930s to 1950s.

Early years

Mears was born in Mexico, Missouri. Her mother died when Mears was 4 years old, and she went to live with her grandmother. Five years later, she began living with an aunt and uncle in Moberly, Missouri. She began taking singing lessons when she was 15.[2]

She graduated from Moberly (Missouri) High School,[3] Moberly Junior College[2] and then, in 1933, from the University of Missouri[4] with plans to be a teacher. On a post-graduation trip to New York City, however, her search for a teaching position was unsuccessful. Instead she found a job with Gus Edwards' Stars of Tomorrow show.[5]


Mears sang on KFRU in Columbia, Missouri, and on WIL in St. Louis, Missouri,[2] before a 1934 interview led to a contract with NBC.[5] She sang on such programs as Al Pearce and His Gang,[6] The Baker's Broadcast (also known as The Joe Penner Show),[6]: 33  It Happened in Hollywood,[6]: 165  Ten-Two-Four Ranch,[6]: 327  The Colgate House Party, The Old Gold Program, The General Foods Show, Bob Ripley, Phillip Morris, and Radio Rodeo.[citation needed]

During World War II, Mears was featured on several episodes of the Personal Album program produced by the Armed Forces Radio Service.[7]


She was also the singing voice of many film actresses,[8] notably singing for Marjorie Reynolds in the debut of "White Christmas" in the movie Holiday Inn (1942),[9] for Rita Hayworth in Cover Girl[8] and for two of Lucille Ball's songs in DuBarry Was a Lady (1943).[10] Her other movie credits include dubbing the singing voices of actresses such as Claudette Colbert, Loretta Young, Hedy Lamarr, Veronica Lake, and Eva Gabor.

Personal life

Mears was married to Sidney Brokaw, a violinist, and they had a son.[5]

Partial filmography


  1. ^ "Martha Mears Future on Radio Assured, Headliners Believe". Moberly Monitor-Index. Missouri, Moberly. August 13, 1934. p. 1. Retrieved November 26, 2016 – via open access
  2. ^ a b c "Martha Mears Given 2-Year Radio Contract; Makes Debut Wednesday Over NBC Chain". Moberly Monitor-Index. Missouri, Moberly. January 29, 1934. p. 2. Retrieved November 26, 2016 – via open access
  3. ^ "Martha Mears, Moberly's Radio Songbird, to Marry Violinist". Moberly Monitor-Index. Missouri, Moberly. August 31, 1934. p. 1. Retrieved November 26, 2016 – via open access
  4. ^ "Martha Mears Is Soloist with Arden Orchestra". Logansport Pharos-Tribune. Indiana, Logansport. April 23, 1937. p. 5. Retrieved November 26, 2016 – via open access
  5. ^ a b c "All That's Gold Does Not Glitter". Oakland Tribune. California, Oakland. February 2, 1936. p. 60. Retrieved November 25, 2016 – via open access
  6. ^ a b c d Terrace, Vincent (1999). Radio Programs, 1924-1984: A Catalog of More Than 1800 Shows. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-4513-4. P. 19.
  7. ^ Mackenzie, Harry (1999). The Directory of the Armed Forces Radio Service Series. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. H-Series 12–13. ISBN 9780313308123. Retrieved 25 November 2016.
  8. ^ a b Moffett, Mrs. F.D. (February 19, 1952). "Versatile Voice Moberlyan 'Dubs' for Unmusical Stars". Moberly Monitor-Index. Missouri, Moberly. St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. 6. Retrieved November 26, 2016 – via open access
  9. ^ Reid, John (2005). Movies Magnificent: 150 Must-See Cinema Classics. p. 85. ISBN 9781411650671. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  10. ^ Brady, Kathleen (2001). Lucille: The Life of Lucille Ball. Billboard Books. p. 134. ISBN 9780823089130. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
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Martha Mears
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