IRENE MANNING d2004. American actress and singer. While performing with an all-girl USO show in England, she was asked to perform with bandleader Glenn Miller shortly before his death in 1944. Miller was involved in making swing records to be broadcast into Nazi Germany. Because she had been a light opera star prior to World War II and was fluent in singing in German, she was asked to sing some American pop tunes which had been translated into German vocals. Her sides were some of the last records made by Glenn Miller, prior to his being lost on an ill-fated flight to Paris over the English Channel in December 1944. She was then briefly credited as Hope Manning in her first films, as she broke in with the Republic Studios system in 1936. Her first film placed her as the lead actress in a western "The Old Corral" (opposite Gene Autry). By the early 1940s, she was employed in the Warner Brothers studio system as a contract actress and singer. She is probably best remembered as diva "Fay Templeton" in Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) opposite James Cagney. In this film, she had a scene in which she had to simultaneously act, sing the song "Mary" and play the piano. She starred as Lorna Fleming with Humphrey Bogart in "the Big Shot" (1942) and with Dennis Morgan in both "The Desert Song" (1943) and "Shine On Harvest Moon" (1944). Her contract was picked up by MGM to place her singing skills as a threat to Jeanette Macdonald who was giving MGM problems with her difficult demands. In private, Manning claimed that she was a better singer. The problem between MacDonald and MGM subsided and Manning's contract was dropped without any appearances in an MGM film. She made a dozen films. She died in California of heart failure aged 91 on May 28th 2004.
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