She was married three times, to Hyatt Hotels founder Hyatt von Dehn from 1945 to 1951, to Bob Calhoun from 1951 to 1952, and to Don Eastvold from June 22, 1962 until her death on April 4, 1994. She originally considered studying to become a concert pianist, but enrolled instead at Fresno State Teachers College. While there, she began performing in campus productions, singing with sorority sisters and even forming a popular campus vocal trio. Shortly afterward, she struck out on her own to establish a solo singing career and by 1932, she had her own program on a local radio station. Also in 1932, she became band vocalist for the Tom Gerun band in San Francisco, working together with other vocalists including a young Tony Martin and Woody Herman.
She joined the Kay Kyser Orchestra in 1938, where she received her first national exposure appearing on radio shows and in films with Kyser. She made her first movie with Kyser and Lucille Ball, That’s Right You’re Wrong (1939). She nearly married Kyser but left his orchestra in 1941 to do her own radio show. She starred in the movies Here We Go Again with Edgar Bergen, Charlie McCarthy, and Fibber McGee & Molly (1942), Hit the Ice with Abbott & Costello (1943), as Helen Hoyt in Broadway Rhythm with George Murphy (1944), and as Carole Hill in Cole Porter’s Night and Day (1946) with Cary Grant and Alexis Smith. In 1951, Simms hosted a local television show on Los Angeles Channel 11, KTTV, which featured dance bands and talent from army, navy, marine, and air force bases around Southern California. In 1993, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars was dedicated to her. She died in 1994 in Palm Springs, aged 80, and is interred in Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City, California. Read more on Last.fm.
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