Claire Hogan

Photo of Claire Hogan

Torch singer Claire Hogan got her start in the mid-1940s as a vocalist with progressive jazz orchestras, though it wasn’t until the 1950s that she began to come into her own. Hogan’s career was a series of ups and downs. She never managed a hit song but was well-known enough to be regularly featured in the gossip columns of the 1950s and 1960s. She made one last attempt for stardom in 1967 before retiring from show business.

A native of Elyria, Ohio, Hogan received her first big break when she won a “Sing a Song with Johnny Long” contest. She then reportedly sang with Freddie Slack’s boogie woogie band. She does not appear in the historical record, though, until June 1945 when she joined Boyd Raeburn’s progressive jazz orchestra. She stayed only briefly with the band, becoming involved with saxophonist Johnny Bothwell. When Bothwell quit Raeburn after a dispute in early July, she followed him out and soon became Bothwell’s fourth wife. Hogan made her first recordings later that year on the Signature label with an all-star band led by Bothwell, and when Bothwell put together a full-time orchestra in February 1946 she became its vocalist. Bothwell’s band struggled, and he eventually disbanded in November 1947. He and Hogan divorced at that time.

After her divorce from Bothwell, Hogan remained active as a singer, though she does not appear in the press again until 1949, when by March of that year she had joined Jimmy Dorsey’s orchestra. She became quite popular while with the elder Dorsey, remaining in his band until leaving to go solo in April 1950. London Records quickly signed her and rushed recordings into stores by the end of that month. Over the next few years, Hogan made the night club circuit on each coast and spent time in Las Vegas and Miami. She rejoined Dorsey in the studio in 1952. That same year she married comedian and actor Jay Lawrence, younger brother of Larry Storch. The marriage lasted on a short while, with Lawrence quipping that their “lawyers fought over custody of the wedding cake.”

Hogan quit singing at some point in 1953 or 1954. In 1955, MGM Records lured her out of retirement, and she released several sides on the label. In a 1955 interview, Hogan “sneered” at rock and roll. “Standards and show tunes—that’s what I like to do,” she told columnist Earl Wilson. “I’m in better voice now that I ever have been in my life.”[1]

Hogan toured and continued singing through at least 1956 but after that disappears until 1959, when she recorded both for the new Monocle label and for Disney’s Buena Vista label, performing songs from Sleeping Beauty on the latter. From 1954 to 1966, gossip columns linked her romantically to jazz pianist and composer Cy Coleman, with whom she often sang in clubs. In 1966, Hogan was identified by one columnist as Coleman’s secretary. Her singing career had floundered by that time, and she attempted a comeback in 1967 with an MGM album titled “Boozers and Losers,” which featured several songs by Coleman, who also wrote the liner notes. Hogan told Billboard magazine that she hoped to regain her status as a torch singer. Unfortunately that failed to happen, and she disappeared into the mists of history for the final time.

Hogan married again in 1995 to a man named Lacoss. She passed away in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 2000 at the age of 73. Hogan was reportedly a descendant of Confederate general Stonewall Jackson.


  1. A 1955 news item identifies Hogan as an ex-canary of Gene Krupa. If true, this would have been in the early 1950s. ↩︎


  1. “Bothwell Quits Raeburn Band After Near Fight.” Down Beat 1 Aug. 1945: 1.
  2. “Tied Notes.” Down Beat 15 Aug. 1945: 10.
  3. “Bothwell Readies Band for the Road.” Down Beat 6 May 1946: 1.
  4. Wilson, Earl. “Broadway Chatter.” The Kannapolis Daily Independent [Kannapolis, North Carolina] 18 Jun. 1946: 5.
  5. “On the Stand: Johnny Bothwell.” Billboard 22 Jun. 1946: 22.
  6. Levin, Michael. “Bothwell Leads Boff Well Combo.” Down Beat 15 Jul. 1946: 2.
  7. “Bothwell in Clear.” Billboard 20 Dec. 1947: 20.
  8. “Bothwell Gets His Card Back.” Down Beat 31 Dec. 1947: 1.
  9. “Strictly Ad Lib.” Down Beat 8 Sep. 1948: 5.
  10. “Sings March 17.” The Kingston Daily Freeman [Kingston, New York] 3 Mar. 1949: 27.
  11. “Vaudeville Reviews: Jimmy Dorsey.” Billboard 23 Jul. 1949: 37.
  12. “Things to Come: Jimmy Dorsey.” Down Beat 16 Dec. 1949: 7.
  13. “On the Stand: Jimmy Dorsey.” Billboard 18 Feb. 1950: 44.
  14. “Music as Written.” Billboard 15 Apr. 1950: 28.
  15. “Pat Connors For Hogan in JD Ork.” Down Beat 19 May 1950: 3.
  16. “Music as Written.” Billboard 29 Sep. 1951: 29.
  17. Gleason, Ralph J. “Swingin' the Golden Gate.” Down Beat 16 Nov. 1951: 13.
  18. Winchell, Walter. “Walter Winchell's Column.” Jacksonville News and Views [Jacksonville, North Carolina] 14 Mar. 1952: 2.
  19. “Record Reviews.” Down Beat 17 Dec. 1952: 12.
  20. “Strictly Ad Lib.” Down Beat 16 Dec. 1953: 22.
  21. Sullivan, Ed. “Little Old New York.” Billboard 15 Jun. 1955: 23.
  22. “Music as Written.” Billboard 9 Jul. 1955: 24.
  23. “Popular Records.” Down Beat 7 Sep. 1955: 17.
  24. Wilson, Earl. “Claire Hogan, Elyria, Is Popular Singer Of Ballads In New York.” The Sandusky Register-Star-News 8 Sep. 1955: 15.
  25. “Reviews of New Pop Records.” Billboard 30 Jun. 1956: 48.
  26. “Caught in the Act: Buddy Rich Sextet: The Sands, Las Vegas.” Down Beat 17 Oct. 1956: 8.
  27. “Reviews of New Pop Records.” Billboard 2 Feb. 1959: 49.
  28. “Reviews of New Pop Records.” Billboard 16 Feb. 1959: 56.
  29. Advertisement. “Disneyland Records.” Billboard 9 Feb. 1959: 33.
  30. “Monocle Label Makes Debut.” Billboard 30 Mar. 1959: 14.
  31. Winchell, Walter. “On Broadway.” Humboldt Standard [Eureka, California] 21 Jul. 1961: 4.
  32. Winchell, Walter. “Walter Winchell.” Burlington (N.C.) Daily Times-News 3 Feb. 1962: 4A.
  33. Winchell, Walter. “Of Broadway.” Lebanon Daily News [Lebanon, Pennsylvania] 15 Nov. 1966: 19.
  34. O'Brian, Jack. “The Voice of Broadway.” The Palladium Times [Oswego, New York] 9 Feb. 1966: 23.
  35. Wilson, Earl. “Sandra Dee Hates Self.” Idaho Falls Post-Register 19 Nov. 1967: 15.
  36. “Claire Hogan Back On LP—With MGM.” Billboard 16 Dec. 1967: 14.
  37. “United States, Social Security Numerical Identification Files (NUMIDENT), 1936-2007,” database, FamilySearch ( : 10 February 2023), Claire Regis Hogan.