"The Golden Age of Radio"
(As originally broadcast on WTIC, Hartford, CT)

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Program 25 - April, 1972 - Ruby Keeler

Ruby Keeler, born Ethel Keeler, (August 25, 1910 - February 28, 1993), was an actress, singer, and dancer.

She was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Her first "show-business" job was as a chorine, working in a speakeasy for the Prohibition-era hostess Texas Guinan. After that stint, Keeler made her Broadway debut (at Guinan's request) in George M. Cohan's The Rise of Rosie O'Reilly in 1923. In 1927, Keeler appeared in a total of three musicals: Bye Bye Bonnie, Lucky, and Sidewalks of New York.

During her days at Texas Guinan's nightclub, Keeler met legendary entertainer Al Jolson. The couple began dating and wed in 1928. Jolson got Keeler her next starring role in Florenz Ziegfeld's 1929 spectacle Show Girl. But alas, the marriage (in which they adopted a son) was a rocky one and the couple divorced in 1940. Keeler remarried in 1941 to John Homer Lowe, in which they had four children. He died of cancer in 1969. In 1933, producer Daryl F. Zanuck cast Keeler in the Warner Bros. musical 42nd Street opposite Dick Powell and Bebe Daniels. Of course, the film was a huge success due to Busby Berkeley's lavish choreography. Due to the film's success, Jack L. Warner gave Keeler a long-term contract and cast her in such hits as Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933), and Dames (1934). Her co-stars were usually Dick Powell and Joan Blondell, among others. Keeler left the studio in 1937 after her films started failing at the box-office.

In 1971, Keeler came out of retirement to star in the hugely successful Broadway revival of No, No, Nanette. The production was directed by Keeler's 42nd Street director Busby Berkeley.  She has a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6730 Hollywood Blvd.

(From a 1965 interview. Not part of the original broadcast series. Program 25 as originally broadcast featured Leon Janney. That show was repeated in 1976 and is listed as Program 72.)

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Program 25 - April, 1972 - Ruby Keeler

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