Born: 24 Nov 1924, Brooklyn, NY
Died: 22 June 2006, Los Angeles, CA
Eileen Barton attended Mar-Ken School when on the west coast, and Professional Children’s School in New York when on the east coast, according to an interview of the young singer conducted by Gretchen Weaver. This interview was reported in the April 1945 Bandleader Magazine, in a feature entitled “I’m Singing with Frank Sinatra.” Eileen Barton attended Mar-Ken School when on the west coast in 1937, and Professional Children’s School in New York.
Eileen, who also used the stage name “Jolly Gillette” for a short time when she was young, was born into show business in Brooklyn, New York on November 24, 1929. She toured with her parents in Elsie and Ben Barton’s Vaudeville Dance Act, and joined them on stage at the age of two and a half singing “Ain’t Misbehavin.” Under her parents’ tutelage, she learned the skills of the trade. At three she opened on Broadway at the Palace Theater and went on from there to a singing and acting career that took her from coast to coast, performing with many of the top performers of the day including Eddie Cantor, Rudy Vallee, Milton Berle, Nat King Cole, Count Basie, Danny Kaye and many others.
Frank Sinatra took Eileen under his wing, and she performed with him for several years on his CBS show, also doing fifteen shows with him at the Paramount Theater. She had her own radio shows in the 1940s, “Teen Timers,” and later the “Eileen Barton Show” on NBC. Of the many songs that Eileen recorded, the 1949 single “If I Knew You Were Comin’ I’d’ve Baked A Cake” became her signature song. It was one of the highest selling records on an independent label in music business history, and was the number one record for twelve weeks, staying on the best-seller charts over four months.
In an undated treatment for a Mar-Ken alumni movie probably written in the late 1970s to early 1980s that was provided to Mar-Ken.org by her estate, Eileen indicates: “I lived at St. Gepe Apts. [probably the St. George Apartments] on Vine Street with my parents while I was doing Milton Berle – Gillette Community Sing on C.B.S. and used to take a trolly car to school (tracks no longer there).”
Eileen had a long entertainment career that covered radio, live performances in many club and stage venues, movies, records and appearances on television programs. She passed away in Los Angeles on June 22, 2006.
– by Alan H. Simon
From the March 15, 1937 Lawlor Journal:
PROMINENT YOUNGSTERS ENTER PROMINENT SCHOOL:
We’re getting new pupils galore…. In the same room with the Hould boy is Jolly Gillette, known as the sponsor’s daughter on his Milton Berle Community Sing. . . .
Links to other resources about Eileen Barton:
Eileen Barton biography from Saxony Records:
Eileen Barton gallery from Saxony Records: