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Kay Kyser

Kay KyserAKA James King Kern Kyser

Born: 18-Jun-1897
Birthplace: Rocky Mount, NC
Died: 23-Jul-1985
Location of death: Chapel Hill, NC
Cause of death: Heart Failure
Remains: Buried, Old Chapel Hill Cemetery, Chapel Hill, NC

Gender: Male
Religion: Christian Science
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Musician

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: The Ol' Professor, eleven #1 records

Perhaps the first famous Big Band leader, Kyser performed with Ish Kabibble and singer Harry Babbitt, scoring eleven #1 records in the 1930's and 40's. When singer Babbitt was called to service in WWII, replacing him was Don Leslie and future talk show host Mike Douglas.

In addition to the music, Kyser hosted the Kay Kyser's Kollege of Musical Knowledge radio program 1937-49, a show comparable to Name That Tune but with slightly more depth. The show was tried on television in the early 1950's with some success, but didn't work nearly as well as it did on the radio. It was tried briefly again several years later, with Tennessee Ernie Ford as replacement host.

After Kyser died in 1985, singer Harry Babbitt purchased the back catalogue from Georgia, and performed under the Kyser name until the mid-1990's, one of the last touring remnants of Big Band.

Father: P. B. Kyser
Mother: Emily
Wife: Georgia Carroll (m. Jun-1944, until his death, three daughters)
Daughter: Kimberly Kyser
Daughter: Amanda Kyser

    University: University of North Carolina (1928)

    Grand Marshal of the Tournament of Roses 1942
    Radio Hall of Fame 1990

    Carolina Blues (20-Dec-1944) · Himself
    Around the World (24-Nov-1943) · Himself
    Swing Fever (1-Nov-1943)
    Thousands Cheer (13-Sep-1943) · Himself
    Stage Door Canteen (24-Jun-1943) · Himself
    My Favorite Spy (28-May-1942)
    Playmates (26-Dec-1941) · Himself
    You'll Find Out (22-Nov-1940) · Kay
    That's Right -- You're Wrong (24-Nov-1939) · Himself

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