|Born||in Brooklyn, New York, USA|
Mini Bio (1)
Born Marlene Blatz in Brooklyn/Queens, New York. Mother and father were entertainers. Her father, John Blatz, was a trumpet player who appeared in the road company of "Broadway" with Lee Tracy in the 20s. Mother, Marion Cameron Blatz, was a George White Scandals "pony showgirl." She also worked at the Cotton Club in Harlem, New York, as a cigarette and hat check girl.
By the age of two and a half Marlene was being trained as a dancer and singer. She made her debut at the age of three singing and dancing in a group called "The Cheer Givers Club." She became a paid performer at this time. This group was organized and managed by a woman named Essie Herman, a Bronxite. At age four and five Marlene performed in small clubs in and around the New York City area that were arranged by Essie Herman. About this time Marlene performed at Sing Sing prison, twice!
Marlene's mother continued to train her to read so by age six she was reading cold scripts with the help of other trainers her mother found in the City. One was a collaborator on the well known radio program called "Coast to Coast on a Bus", a program that was heard on NBC at 9 am every Sunday featuring children from the age of seven to ten years old. Miss Norton was a collaborator for another early Saturday morning show called "Let's Pretend." Nila Mack was the casting/creative director. It wasNila Mack who suggested that Marlen's last name be changed. It was changed to Marlene Cameron, an alias she retained throughout her professional career.
Miss Norton trained many children to read and sing well. All of her students were being prepared to enter radio. Marlene was one of her star pupils. She auditioned continuously at the NBC studios at Radio City. She landed a spot on "Coast to Coast on a Bus" when she was seven years old along with the now very famous staff announcer Milton Cross. Children were not permitted to work until they were seven on radio at that time. She continued to sing and and dance while doing radio on weekends for two more years. Her credits include commercials, i.e. "Colgate Toothpaste." By age nine she had her own radio show called "Global Neighbors" on WNYC, a city owned station. She eventually auditioned for Nila Mack who was so impressed with her work that she recommended to Burgess Meridith that she be seen at an audition for a new Broadway show called "Georgia Boy" that was to star Henry Hull. Mr. Hull had been the star of a big hit called "Tobacco Road" which ran in New York for seven years. Burgess Meredith fell ill, replaced by Joshua Logan. Jacqueline Miles quit the show before the Boston opening and Marlene stepped in to take over the role. The show opened on January 5, 1945. The critics panned the play and "Georgia Boy" closed at the Copley theatre in Boston.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Marlene Cameron