August 1, 2005
Cabaret singer Hildegarde, July 29
Cabaret singer Hildegarde, shown here performing in Washington in 1943, died on Friday, July 29, 2005 at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Hospital. She was 99. Her career spanned more than 70 years and she was credited with starting the single-name vogue among entertainers. Her titel as "the Incomparable Hildegarde" was bestowed on her by columnist Walter Winchell. During the peak of her popularity in the 1930s and '40s she was booked in cabarets and supper clubs at least 45 weeks a year, earning as much as $17,500 a week in 1946. She appeared on the cover of Life magazine in 1939, and her recordings sold in the hundreds of thousands. Revlon even produced a Hildegarde shade of lipstick and nail polish. Her signature song was Sammy Fain's I'll Be Seeing You. "Hers was the slickest nightclub act of all time," recalled Bobby Short, another cabaret legend.