Marlene Willis’ natural talent, perseverance, and dedication continue to inspire aspiring artists to this day.
Despite her untimely passing, Marlene’s musical prowess and infectious charm will forever live on.
Marlene Willis Biography
Marlene Willis, born Marlene Audrey Willis on January 13, 1942, in Levelland, Texas, was an American singer who made a significant impact on the entertainment industry during the 1950s.
Marlene had a tremendous ability for singing from an early age, stunning audiences with her excellent vocal powers.
Marlene was the third of four children born to oilfield worker Woodrow Wilson Willis and Anna Mae Spangler. When she was a toddler, her family relocated to Fresno, California, where she attended Rowell Elementary School and Yosemite Middle School.
Marlene’s enthusiasm for singing blossomed during her time in Fresno. She was just seven years old when she played impromptu at a picnic concert and became addicted to the applause.
Marlene and her brother Woodie began participating in Fresno talent events after being described as having a natural ability to echo melodies and tunes they had only heard once.
Hoarce Heidt, a bandleader and producer, signed her to a contract after she worked as a vocalist with Frank DeVol and his orchestra for a TV show.
In early 1955, Marlene garnered additional notoriety and admiration for her role in The Swift Show Waggon with Hoarce Heidt and the American Way.
The show was a roving television programme that featured a variety of performers as well as an amateur talent competition. Marlene’s regular triumphs on the show earned her recognition as a professional performer and solidified her reputation as a budding star.
Marlene remained humble and dedicated to her profession despite her success. She never took singing lessons, instead relying on her inherent talent.
Marlene herself disclosed in an interview with Lydia Lane that she battled polio and was bedridden for six months throughout her adolescence.
The media became more interested in Marlene’s personal life as her career advanced. She began dating fellow actor Steve Stevens while attending Hollywood Professional School. Their love was genuine and not staged for attention, but it ended when Stevens began seeing mobster Mickey Cohen.
Marlene married Kerry Hodges in Los Angeles on August 13, 1966. Before tragedy struck, the couple had been married for several years. Marlene died of cancer on March 29, 1982, at the age of 40, leaving a magnificent legacy in the music industry.
Marlene Willis Cause Of Death
Marlene Willis’s cause of death is reported to have been due to cancer which she suffered leading to her demise.