American Vaudeville Museum

All material © 1998-2012 American Museum of Vaudeville, Inc.  Page 49

Ruth Etting

It is unlikely that Ruth Etting’s recordings have ever been out of print during the fifty years since the dawn of the long-playing disk, although her career lasted less than twenty years before she retired in 1936.  Her retirement was precipitated by the shooting (not fatal) of her accompanist and soon-to-be second husband by her first husband, a petty gangster known as Gimp Snyder, who managed Ruth’s career and personal life.  This event became the major plot element of Love Me or Leave Me, a 1955 fictionalized film bio that starred Doris Day as Etting and James Cagney as Moe Snyder.

Etting, never enamoured of the star life, welcomed her release from show business and retired to a small ranch in Colorado where she and second husband, enjoyed a long, loving relationship.

Ruth Etting had a beautiful tone, superb diction and instinctive musicianship; she was also a blond beauty.  Together, her talent and beauty, made her a star of nightclubs, vaudeville, the Ziegfeld Follies and films.