In 1969 I was working on the foundation investigation for the future St Lucie Nuclear Power Plant on Hutchinson Island. I stayed in nearby Fort Pierce for the duration of our work.
During the months I was there, I visited Frances Langford's Outrigger Resort in Jensen Beach many times for dinner. I got to know Frances and her husband, Ralph Evinrude. They were very nice people.
Frances had been a very famous person in the 1930s and even through the 1970s. She had been a successful singer in the 1930s and 1940s and also had a great career in movies.
She was beloved by veterans of World War Two, the Korean War, and the Vietnam war for her many appearances in war zones with Bob Hope and other entertainers. She toured all over the world with the famous comedian even as recently as the Gulf War.
Even though she was famous and known all over the country, she never gave up her Florida roots.
She was born in Hernando, Florida in 1913 and raised in Mulberry, near Lakeland. She graduated from Lakeland High School and studied music at Florida Southern College. She became a star at an early age and was a regular singer on the Rudy Vallee radio show.
She also performed in Broadway musicals, and from 1946 to 1951 she starred with Don Ameche as the nagging wife, Blanche, on the popular radio show "The Bickersons".
She was married for 21 years to actor Jon Hall, who was most famous for his role as "Ramar of the Jungle". When her Hollywood film career ended, she married outboard motor tycooon Ralph Evinrude and they lived on her estate in Jensen Beach.
She always loved boating and fishing and Ralph was the right man for her at the right time. Their 110 foot yacht "Chanticleer" was kept in the marina at the Outrigger resort, and many motel and restaurant guests were invited to tour the yacht.
Frances died at her Jensen Beach home at age 92. She was cremated and her ashes scattered off the coast near Jensen Beach.
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