Saturday, February 7, 2009
– Molly Bee, a singer who had a hit at 13 with I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,
died Feb. 7 at 69 in California of complications from a stroke.
Bee, born Molly Beachboard in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Aug. 18, 1939, was 10 years old when she gained the attention of Rex Allen, the singing cowboy. Bee's mother took her to see Allen in concert. She sang Lovesick Blues for Allen, who soon had Bee sing on his radio show. A year later, Bee and her family headed to Hollywood where she became a regular on Hometown Jamboree, a Los Angeles-based television show run by Cliffie Stone. Bee sang on the Jamboree throughout her teen years.
At 13, Bee signed with Capitol Records with her first single Tennessee Tango. In 1953, she recorded Don't Start Courtin' in a Hot Rod Ford, a duet with Tennessee Ernie Ford. Bee continued releasing material and playing on television shows. She toured as well.
Bee started acting in the early 1960s on stage and in and movies ("Chartreuse Caboose," "The Young Swingers") along with playing in Las Vegas. Bee's recording career started declining after inking a deal Liberty Records in 1962 and releasing several singles. She moved to MGM in 1965, releasing the "It's Great...It's Molly Bee" album. However, by the end of the decade, Bee suffered from drug addiction. She took time off before resurfacing on Granite Records, releasing "Good Golly Ms. Molly" for Stone's label. Bee had two songs - She Kept on Talking and Right or Left at Oak Street. chart. In 1982, Bee's final disc, "Sounds Fine to Me," came out.