Eugenie Baird

Photo of Eugenie Baird

Vocalist Eugenie Baird sang for three name orchestras in the early 1940s before starting a successful solo career that took her through the 1950s. Baird grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and received her first professional break singing on local radio station KDKA while still in high school. Baird worked with Pittsburgh bandleader Baron Elliot before joining Tony Pastor in March 1941. Pastor picked her as his female vocalist after she sent him a picture and a recording of her voice. Baird remained with Pastor until late 1942, when reports had her suffering from “bad tonsils” in September and planning a vacation. Marcia Rice had taken her place by November, with Baird joining Jan Savitt at about the same time. In early 1943, she became part of Glen Gray’s Casa Loma Orchestra. Baird’s sister, Kay Marie, was also a vocalist, singing with Mal Hallett in 1941. Both Eugenie and Kay Marie auditioned for the Casa Loma Orchestra at the same time, with Eugenie winning the position.

Baird left Gray in November 1944 to become a regular on Bing Crosby’s radio program, spending a year there before getting her own show on the Mutual Network in 1946. She then went to work on Paul Whiteman’s program that same year. Baird was Whiteman’s go-to vocalist throughout the rest of the decade when he needed someone for a performance, touring with him in 1948. Baird also worked the theater and night club circuit as a solo act. She made a screen test for Paramount in early 1945.

Baird recorded with both Pastor and Gray but not with Savitt, as her time with his group coincided with the American Federation of Musician’s recording ban. She also recorded two solo sides backed by Mel Torme and the Mel-Tones on Decca in 1945. She recorded on the Hi-Tone label in 1949.

In March 1948, Baird took over singing duties from Eileen Barton for the Broadway musical Angel in the Wings, earning her a Down Beat magazine cover on June 2, 1948. She remained with the show until it closed in September. In November 1951, Baird understudied Janet Blair during the Chicago run of the South Pacific touring unit.

Baird made regular appearances on radio and television in the late 1940s and early 1950s and had her own radio program on the Mutual network again in 1952 and 1953. The Mutual program cast Baird as a disc jockey, spinning the most requested songs from across the network’s affiliate stations. She recorded with Art Mooney’s orchestra on the MGM label in 1950 and solo on the small Vinrob label in 1953. In 1959, she recorded a popular album of Duke Ellington songs backed by members of Ellington’s orchestra. Baird was also popular for singing commercial jingles on television. In 1956, she toured military bases with Buddy Morrow’s band under a sponsorship from the Mennen Company, where she was plugged as “Miss Skin-bracer.”[1]

Baird remained active as a singer through the 1950s, spending a year in England during the middle part of that decade. She retired in 1962 when she married Emerson “Bud” Mead, president of Smith-Corona, famous for their typewriters. Mead died in 1976. Eugenie Baird passed away from heart failure in 1988 at age 64.[2]


  1. Mennen made toiletry products, such as deodorant and after-shave. Skin Bracer was their popular after-shave product of that time. The company is now owned by Colgate-Palmolive. ↩︎

  2. Some modern sources have listed Baird’s birthdate as September 18, 1924. Baird’s Social Security record, however, gives her birthdate as November 19, 1923. Her age was all over the place on census records. The 1930 census gives her age as 8 years old, while the 1940 census gives her age as 16. Those same census records show sister Kay Marie (Kathryn) as 10 and 20. On the 1950 census, Eugenie (Edith, as she is recorded on all census forms) was 27, while Kay Marie is listed as 29. In 1950, both women, unmarried, were still recorded as members of their parents’ household on the census. ↩︎


  1. Simon, George T. The Big Bands. 4th ed. New York: Schirmer, 1981.
  2. Walker, Leo. The Wonderful Era of the Great Dance Bands. Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1972.
  3. The Online Discographical Project. Accessed 29 Jul. 2015.
  4. “Eugenie Baird.” IMDb. Accessed 29 Jul. 2015.
  5. “Eugenie Baird.” Internet Broadway Database. Accessed 18 Dec. 2022.
  6. Program 24B. Broadway in Review. 1953. Radio.
  7. “Eugenie Baird.” Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Accessed 29 Jul. 2015.
  8. “Eugenie Baird.” OTRRpedia. Accessed 8 Aug. 2015
  9. “Kaminsky out of Tony Pastor Band.” Down Beat 15 Apr. 1941: 11.
  10. “Vaudeville Reviews: Leow's Capitol, Washington.” Billboard 16 Aug. 1941: 23.
  11. “Vaudeville Reviews: Stanley, Pittsburgh.” Billboard 11 Oct. 1941: 22.
  12. “Baron Elliot Band Ripens On Long Location plus Air.” Down Beat 15 Jan. 1942: 12.
  13. “Vaudeville Reviews: Paramount, New York.” Billboard 26 Sep. 1942: 16.
  14. “Strictly Ad Lib.” Down Beat 15 Oct. 1942: 13.
  15. “Marcia Rice With Pastor.” Down Beat 1 Dec. 1942: 2.
  16. Grennard, Elliot. “On the Air: Jan Savitt.” Billboard 26 Dec. 1942: 22.
  17. “Swing String Singer.” Down Beat 1 Jan. 1943: 16.
  18. Grennard, Elliot. “On the Air: Glen Gray.” Billboard 13 May 1943: 22.
  19. “Eugenie Quits Casa Loma.” Down Beat 1 Nov. 1944: 4.
  20. “Crosby Alters Program Setup.” Down Beat 1 Dec. 1944: 1.
  21. Emge, Charles. “On the Beat in Hollywood.” Down Beat 1 May 1945: 7.
  22. “Diggin' the Discs.” Down Beat 1 Oct. 1945: 11.
  23. “Record Reviews.” Billboard 13 Oct. 1945: 31.
  24. Ronan, Eddie. “Summer Air Is Filled With Music.” Down Beat 28 Jul. 1946: 2.
  25. “Radio Neglects Music.” Down Beat 21 Oct. 1946: 12.
  26. “Fair Eugenie.” Down Beat 18 Nov. 1946: 14.
  27. “5-House Stem Tops 6-House Week.” Billboard 23 Aug. 1947: 47.
  28. “Baird Trods Boards.” Down Beat 24 Mar. 1948: 14.
  29. “Eugenie Baird On The Cover.” Down Beat 2 Jun. 1948: 1.
  30. “From Choral Groups to Whiteman.” The Montreal Gazette 17 Aug. 1948: 6.
  31. “Eugenie Baird Comes to Copa.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 20 Sep. 1948: 16.
  32. “Music as Written.” Billboard 6 Nov. 1948: 40.
  33. “Strictly Ad Lib.” Down Beat 11 Mar. 1949: 5.
  34. “Record Reviews.” Billboard 19 Mar. 1949: 42.
  35. Advertisement. “Sam Goody” Billboard 21 May 1949: 24.
  36. “Stem Dips to 324G, Tho Palace Adds 29G.” Billboard 4 Jun. 1949: 45.
  37. “Record Reviews.” Billboard 22 Apr. 1950: 128.
  38. “Eugenie Baird Carousel Star.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 31 Jul. 1950: 16.
  39. “Music as Written.” Billboard 8 Dec. 1951: 25.
  40. “Record Reviews.” Billboard 21 Jun. 1952: 38.
  41. Plotnik, Gene. “On and Off the Records.” Billboard 18 Oct. 1952: 19.
  42. “Strictly Ad Lib: New York.” Down Beat 20 May 1953: 3.
  43. “Strictly Ad Lib: Miami.” Down Beat 1 Dec. 1954: 16.
  44. Francis, Bob. “Legit: Professor Backwards, Hotel Statler, Los Angeles.” Billboard 30 Jul. 1955: 13.
  45. “Mennen Backs Buddy Morrow For Camp Tour.” Billboard 25 Feb. 1956: 19.
  46. “Morrow Gets Close Shave.” Down Beat 4 Apr. 1956: 32.
  47. “United States Census, 1930,” FamilySearch ( : Sat Oct 07 00:34:40 UTC 2023), Entry for Eugene Baird and Birdina Baird, 1930.
  48. “United States Census, 1940,” FamilySearch ( : Tue Nov 28 14:42:12 UTC 2023), Entry for Eugene Baird and Rachel Baird, 1940.
  49. “United States 1950 Census,” FamilySearch ( : Fri Oct 06 00:04:31 UTC 2023), Entry for Eugene L Baird and Rachal B Baird, 10 April 1950.
  50. “United States, Social Security Numerical Identification Files (NUMIDENT), 1936-2007,” database, FamilySearch ( : 10 February 2023), Edythe Eugenie Baird.