RIP: Molly Bee

Many of you have probably never heard of Molly Bee. I guess you have to be of "a certain age," which means "old." It was published today that the country singer and teen TV star died at age 69.

When I was a little kid, I remember my mother loving to watch The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show on television. While I had long since forgotten about Molly Bee, the news of her death evoked memories of watching her on that black and white TV (in our family's living room) connected to an outside antenna. Never mind HD, DISH, and color. We were just glad to have a television and to listen to Ernie Ford and Molly Bee.

Molly Bee, a country singer popular in the 1950s and 1960s who was a teenage star on television's "Hometown Jamboree" and "The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show," has died. She was 69. Ms. Bee, who lived in Carlsbad (San Diego County), died Saturday of complications related to a stroke in an Oceanside (San Diego County), hospital, said Michael Allen, her son.


When she was 13, Ms. Bee signed with Capitol Records and had her first major recording success with "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" in 1952.

The next year, she recorded a duet with Ford, "Don't Start Courtin' in a Hot Rod Ford," when she was 13. In 1954, Ms. Bee left the children's TV program "The Pinky Lee Show" to join Ford's daytime variety show. Before their performance of "Dim Lights Thick Smoke," Ford teased Ms. Bee about the pigtails she once wore and praised her "silver bell voice." He then coaxed her to yodel, a skill she had honed on the Beltbuckle, Tenn., farm where she spent her early years.

Born Mollie Gene Beachboard on Aug. 18, 1939, in Oklahoma City, she moved to Tucson in the 1940s and to Los Angeles when she was 11. As her career took off, she appeared on a number of TV variety shows and had more hit singles, including "Young Romance," "Don't Look Back" and "5 Points of a Star." []

Rest in peace, Ms Bee.

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