Jo Biography
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Courtesy of Corinthian Records: See home page at: Corinthian Records




Jo Elizabeth Stafford was born November 12 on a tract of land known as "Lease 35" at Coalinga, California. Her mother, Anna York Stafford, was a distant cousin of World War I hero Alvin York , and was famed as one of the finest five-string banjoists in Gainsboro, Tennessee. Her father, Grover Cleveland Stafford, had come West to seek his fortune in the California oil fields.

Jo's first professional work was with the Stafford Sisters, a trio in which Jo joined her sisters Christine and Pauline. They had their own weekly radio show on KHJ, were regular performers on David Broekman's California Melodies and the Crockett Family of Kentucky shows, and did both solo and studio vocal work with all the major motion picture companies.

After marriage broke up the Stafford Sisters trio , Jo joined a group called the Pied Pipers, and along with her seven other group members was hired by Tommy Dorsey for the Raleigh-Kool program in 1938. After ten weeks with Dorsey the group dissolved, but Jo was hired back with three others as the Pied Pipers who sang with Dorsey for three years, recorded "I'll Never Smile Again" with Frank Sinatra, and provided Jo with the opportunity of making her own solo recordings with the Dorsey band. Her first solo recording was "Little Man with a Candy Cigar."

When Johnny Mercer assembled the artists to start Capitol Records in 1943, Jo began a recording career that was to culminate in Columbia Records giving her a Diamond Award as the first recording artist to sell 25,000,000 Records. Her Hits included: "You Belong to Me", "Timtayshun" , "Whispering Hope" ( with Gordon MacRae ), "Shrimp Boats", "Make Love to Me", "Jambalaya", her album of "American Folk Songs", and the comedy albums made under the name of Darlene Edwards. One of these, "Jonathan and Darlene in Paris" , has won a Grammy Award. Nine of her best known albums including "JO + JAZZ", are currently in release on the Corinthian Records label.

After guesting on all the major radio shows, Jo started her own series with the Chesterfield Supper Club, to which was added the Jo Stafford Show for Revere Camera, followed by feature roles on the Carnation and Club 15 Shows.

In 1950, Jo began a series of programs that brought her international recognition. In Hollywood she tape-recorded a weekly fifteen minute Youth Program for the Voice of America to broadcast world-wide in the cause of democracy.

Soon she added another weekly half-hour musical show, also recorded in Hollywood, for broadcast over 200,000 watt Radio Luxembourg; Europe's most powerful station. During this period Frank Lee , then British director of Radio Luxembourg said: "In her own quiet way Stafford is selling America to Europe."

In 1952 European demand took her to London, where she headlined the bill at the Palladium and made appearances for the Voice of America in the British Isles and on the continent. In 1952 she and Paul Weston were married, had two children, Tim and Amy, and have made their home in Beverly Hills for the past twenty-five years.

With the advent of television , Jo Stafford guested on all the major variety shows, and in 1954 was given her own JO STAFFORD SHOW on CBS-TV. Thus when Hollywood decided to commemorate its stars with plaques in the sidewalks of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street Jo Stafford was one of the few stars to have three separate plaques, one for records, one for radio, and one for television. In the late fifties she cut down her activities sharply in order to devote her time to her children, and aside from a few trips to New York to do the Garry Moore and Firestone Hour Shows, she did only recordings and TV shows based in Hollywood.

In 1961 the family moved to London for the summer so that Jo could do her own series for the ATV British Network. These shows were seen in this country, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, as well as in the British Isles, and her guests included Bob Hope, Ella Fitzgerald and Peter Sellers.

When family duties curtailed her public appearances, Jo continued to record for Capitol, Dot , and Readers Digest Records, as well as making religious albums for Corinthian and the World Library of Sacred Music. She is a past-president of SHARE, one of Hollywood's best known charitable organizations, which concerns itself with aiding mentally handicapped children. Her last public appearance was at SHARE's 25th Anniversary Show, along with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis,Jr., Johnny Carson and Milton Berle. Her Corinthian records continue to enjoy sales in this country, England, the Benelux countries and Japan.