Bob Carroll

Photo of Bob Carroll

Baritone Bob Carroll had a long and successful career as a singer and an actor. During the big band era, his voice was an integral part of both Charlie Barnet’s pre-war band and Jimmy Dorsey’s post-war orchestra. In between, Carroll spent time in the service. In the 1950s, he found success as a solo artist and ventured into television and onto the stage.

Born in New York to immigrant parents, Carroll grew up in Lower Manhattan.[1] He began working as a vocalist in the late 1930s, singing on the Swing for Chiclets radio program in 1939. He joined Tony Pastor’s new orchestra at the beginning of 1940 before moving over to George Hall’s band in March. He became part of Barnet’s outfit in September 1940, replacing Larry Taylor. Barnet’s band at the time was at its peak of popularity, with Carroll singing alongside Mary Ann McCall and the Quintones vocal group.

Carroll left Barnet in late 1941 for NBC radio. In summer 1942, he was featured on Meredith Willson’s program, a replacement for Fibber McGee and Molly during the seasonal hiatus. He also recorded with Gordon Jenkins and David Rose in July, before the American Federation of Musician’s recording ban took effect, and made a soundie, “Tenement Symphony,” for RCM.

When the Willson show ended in September 1942, Carroll found himself going into the Army Air Force. He was first stationed at Gardner Field in California. In late December, he was quickly loaned to Harry James when the trumpet player’s band was delayed en route to Hollywood and not able to make their regular Chesterfield radio show. Carroll filled in for singer Johnny McAfee.

In mid-1943, Carroll sang with Glenn Miller’s AAF band, being heard on their weekly recruitment broadcasts while they were stationed in New Haven, Connecticut. In 1944, after Miller and his orchestra left for overseas, Carroll sang with the 60-piece military band from Fort Worth, Texas, led by Harry Bluestone, that took over Miller’s spot on the I Sustain the Wings radio program.

Post-War Career

Upon his discharge in April 1946, Carroll joined Jimmy Dorsey’s outfit, replacing Buddy Hughes. The signing was of mutual benefit for the two performers. Carroll needed a name outlet to re-establish himself, and Dorsey, whose was struggling at that time, needed a strong vocalist. Carroll remained with the orchestra, recording often, until February 1947 when he left to go solo. He made the nightclub circuit and performed on radio throughout the rest of the 1940s, signing with Decca in December 1947 and working with Walter Gross and his quartet during early 1948.

In early 1949, Carroll recorded on the Taylee label, backed by organ soloist Joanne Lee, and in mid-1949 he sang for Kay Kyser, recording several numbers with the Ol’ Professor. He recorded with Gordon Jenkins again in 1951 and then with Tutti Camarata. In 1952, he released solo material on the Comet label, switching to Derby by year’s end. 1953 proved to be his banner year as a recording artist when one of his Derby numbers, “Say It With Your Heart,” became a popular hit and his most successful song. He recorded on Camden in 1955 and the Bally label in 1956.

Carroll began to work in television during the late 1940s, appearing on multiple programs in dramatic roles into the 1960s. In 1950, he provided uncredited vocals for the film The Prowler[2] and dubbed for Huntz Hall in Monogram’s The Bowery Thrush. In 1951, he had his own weekly musical show on NBC, and in early 1954 he became a regular on Fred Allen’s NBC television program. In early 1955, WABC tapped him as male vocalist for their new daytime show. Carroll also appeared in several stage productions, most famously as Tevye in the touring company for Fiddler on the Roof during the early 1970s.

Carroll continued singing as well as acting up into the 1980s, recording for a variety of minor labels and making the nightclub circuit. He also sang with several pops orchestras.

Bob Carroll passed away, age 76, in 1994 after a long illness.


  1. Carroll’s Romanian father worked as a hat blocker. His Russian mother had been born in England. ↩︎

  2. Starring Van Heflin and Evelyn Keyes, The Prowler, released in 1951, was a crime and passion story about a cop having an affair with a lonely woman whose husband is an all-night disc jockey. The music played by the husband while on the air was actually produced by an all-star band, which besides Carroll featured Randy Brooks and Benny Carter. ↩︎


  1. Simon, George T. The Big Bands. 4th ed. New York: Schirmer, 1981.
  2. “Robert Carroll.” IMDb. Accessed 20 Dec. 2015.
  3. The Online Discographical Project. Accessed 20 Dec. 2015.
  4. Lesser, Jerry. “Radio Talent.” Billboard 8 Apr. 1939: 10.
  5. “Vaudeville Reviews: Loew's State, New York.” Billboard 16 Mar. 1940: 24.
  6. “Buffalo Looks for Above-Average Biz with Straight Pix.” Billboard 16 Nov. 1940: 24.
  7. “On the Records.” Billboard 4 Jan. 1941: 67.
  8. “Quintones Quit Barnet Band.” Down Beat 1 Nov. 1941: 1.
  9. “Barnet Back to Normal.” Down Beat 1 Jan. 1942: 7.
  10. “On the Records.” Billboard 24 Jan. 1942: 61.
  11. “Radio Talent.” Billboard 30 May 1942: 7.
  12. “Program Reviews.” Billboard 11 Jul. 1942: 7.
  13. Steinhauser, Si. “Million Dollar Band Isn't Everything It Seems to Its Leader.” The Pittsburgh Press 27 Sep. 1942: 4th Section, 8.
  14. “On the Records.” Billboard 17 Oct. 1942: 21.
  15. “Movie Machine Reviews.” Billboard 17 Oct. 1942: 68.
  16. “On the Records.” Billboard 14 Nov. 1942: 22.
  17. “Dance Music: Gordon Jenkins.” Down Beat 15 Nov. 1942: 8.
  18. “Ravings at Reveille.” Down Beat 1 Dec. 1942: 19.
  19. “Los Angeles Band Briefs.” Down Beat 15 Jan. 1943: 7.
  20. “Ravings at Reveille.” Down Beat 15 Jan. 1943: 16.
  21. “Ravings at Reveille.” Down Beat 15 Mar. 1943: 16.
  22. “On the Records.” Billboard 29 May 1943: 96.
  23. “Strictly Ad Lib.” Down Beat 1 Jul. 1944: 5.
  24. “Warbler Emphasis Seen in J. Dorsey Pacting of Carroll.” Billboard 20 Apr. 1946: 24.
  25. “On the Stand: Jimmy Dorsey.” Billboard 18 Jan. 1947: 31.
  26. “Magee Toots Again In Philly.” Down Beat 12 Mar. 1947: 18.
  27. “Diggin' the Discs.” Down Beat 26 Mar. 1947: 20.
  28. “Disk Talent Wheel Spins Madly.” Billboard 6 Dec. 1947: 16.
  29. “88er Gross Takes Unit Into Cezar's.” Down Beat 24 Mar. 1948: 1.
  30. “Fire Sends Gross To L.A.'s Ciro's.” Down Beat 21 Apr. 1948: 3.
  31. “Record Reviews.” Billboard 7 May 1949: 34.
  32. “Record Reviews.” Billboard 25 Jun. 1949: 114.
  33. “Record Reviews.” Billboard 30 Jul. 1949: 58.
  34. “Record Reviews.” Billboard 15 Oct. 1949: 31.
  35. “Soundtrack Sittings.” Down Beat 25 Aug. 1950: 8.
  36. “Movie Music.” Down Beat 15 Jun. 1951: 9.
  37. “Extra Added.” Billboard 7 Jul. 1951: 35.
  38. “Music Popularity Charts: The Billboard Picks.” Billboard 3 Nov. 1951: 48.
  39. “Record Review.” Billboard 5 Jan. 1952: 22.
  40. “Music as Written.” Billboard 6 Dec. 1952: 40.
  41. “Music as Written.” Billboard 24 Jan. 1953: 44.
  42. “Music as Written.” Billboard 9 Jan. 1954: 15.
  43. “Popular Records.” Billboard 8 May 1954: 22.
  44. “Talent Topics.” Billboard 8 Jan. 1955: 14.
  45. “WABC to Gamble 20G Weekly on Afternoon Show.” Billboard 29 Jan. 1955: 2.
  46. “Popular Records.” Down Beat 16 Nov. 1955: 15.
  47. “Reviews and Ratings of New Popular Albums.” Billboard 17 Dec. 1955: 44.
  48. “Popular Records.” Down Beat 30 May 1956: 18.
  49. Lyndall, Barry. “Opening of 'Fiddler' Has Warmth and Charm.” The Free-Lance Star [Fredericksburg, VA] 5 Jan. 1971: 2.
  50. Carroll, Charles Michael. “Florida Orchestra Ends Its Pops Season in Style.” St. Petersburg Evening Independent 26 Apr. 1986: 7-B.
  51. Nelson, Boris. “'Fiddler' Pleases Toledoans Once More.” Toledo Blade 24 Feb. 1975: P-2.
  52. “Bob Carroll, Actor in Many Roles, 76.” The New York Times 19 Nov. 1994: Web.
  53. “United States Census, 1920,” FamilySearch ( : Fri Dec 08 01:57:14 UTC 2023), Entry for Irving Kaufman and Sarah Kaufman, 1920.
  54. “United States Census, 1930,” FamilySearch ( : Fri Oct 06 08:30:17 UTC 2023), Entry for Irving Kaufman and Sarah Kaufman, 1930.
  55. “United States Census, 1940,” FamilySearch ( : Tue Nov 28 09:11:01 UTC 2023), Entry for Irving Kaufman and Sarah Kaufman, 1940.
  56. “United States Social Security Death Index,” database, FamilySearch ( : 7 January 2021), Robert Carroll, 12 Nov 1994; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).