Blog 12 of 98

Songs were center stage with Ginny Simms

By Cindy Stearns
Published: 09/09/19 Topics: Comments:

When you hear or read the "history" of Ocean Shores, there's one woman's name that comes up center stage for the 1960s era. Ginny Simms.

Born Virginia Simms in Texas in 1913, she was raised in California. Studied piano as a child, she was actually known for her vocal talents. She was part of a singing trio during her studies at Fresno State Teachers College. While performing in San Francisco, Kay Kyser (bandleader and radio star), heard her song stylings. She was propelled into the role of his featured singer and stellar attraction for Kay Kyser's Kollege of Musical Knowledge. This was a comedy revue created to be a quiz show with music. For a time, they were also a romantic item. Simms also recorded swing and pop albums.

As a guest vocalist in three of Kyser's films for RKO, she elected to stay in Hollywood to strike out as a solo act and headlining "Ginny Simms and Her Orchestra."

During World War II, she headlined her popular radio show and was known as a tireless performer. She also crossed over into movies including co-starring in "Hit the Ice" with Bud Abbott and Lou Costello. In Cole Porter's "Night and Day" starring Cary Grant and Alexis Smith, Simms sang some Porter standards including "I've Got You Under My Skin" and "I Get A Kick Out Of You."

Seen as a frequent escort of Louis B. Mayer after her divorce, rumor was she turned down a marriage proposal. In retaliation, he dropped her studio contract and her career stalled.

In 1951, Simms left Hollywood altogether with her recording career in demise following that departure. Retiring from the limelight, she ran a travel agency and also developed an interest in interior decorating. (Her first husband, Hyatt Dehn, launched the Hyatt Hotel chain, and she put interior decorating talents to work in these hotels.)

After her marriage to Donald Eastvold, her third husband, a former Washington state attorney general, this pairing brought her to be the songbird of Ocean Shores. The Ginny Simms Inn was the iconic spot for the famous and visitors to meet and experience Ocean Shores.

When the hopes of gambling dashed to the rocks of the jetty, the Ginny Simms Inn closed. But, if you listen as the winds and waves stir you on a blustery day, you may hear "Stormy Weather" through the voice of Ginny Simms.

Author: Cindy Stearns
Blog #: 0686 – 09/09/19
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