Vaughn Wilton Monroe (Oct. 7, 1911 - May 21, 1973) was well known in the 1940s and 1950s as an American baritone singer and big band leader who also mastered the trumpet. His popularity resulted in two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for recording and one for radio.
Monroe attended the New England Conservatory of Music for one semester in 1935. However, prior to finishing his studies at the Conservatory, he formed his own orchestra in Boston in 1940 and became its principal vocalist.
Due to his exceptional talent, he began recording for RCA Victor’s subsidiary Bluebird label. As the orchestra did not take his entire time and energy, Monroe built The Meadows, a restaurant and nightclub in Framingham, Massachusetts, just west of the Boston area.
A lucky break for Monroe was the opportunity to be the summer replacement for the popular radio program Blondie on CBS.
Monroe’s career further escalated by hosting the Camel Caravan radio program from his restaurant the Meadows. The program was financed by the Camel Cigarette Company and was very popular in 1946. Of course, all commercial breaks featured Camel cigarettes.
In 1952, Monroe and his orchestra had a weekly program on Saturday nights on NBC radio. The programs originated from wherever the band happened to be touring.
Many of Monroe’s songs were extremely popular and his signature song “Racing With the Moon,” recorded in 1941, sold over one million copies by 1952.
Monroe had the opportunity to appear in movies. Although not pursuing these appearances, he did star in several movies during this period. The movies were "Meet the People" (1944), "Carnegie Hall" (1947), "Singing Guns" (1950) and "The Toughest Man in Arizona" (1952).
He hosted the Vaughn Monroe Show on CBS Television (1950-51, 1954-55) and appeared on "Bonanza," "The Mike Douglas Show," "The Ed Sullivan Show," "Texaco Star Theatre," "The Jackie Gleason Show," "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson," and "American Bandstand." He was a major stockholder in RCA and appeared in print ads and television commercials for the company’s TV and audio products.
Monroe’s personal life involved marrying Marian Baughman on April 2, 1940. The couple had two children and remained married until Vaughn’s death in 1973.