Lola Albright July 20, 1924 – March 23, 2017
If you remember the 1950s TV show Peter Gunn, you might also recall that it was filled with the music of Henry Mancini, who began to build his legendary name at that time. But do you remember Lola? That would be Lola Albright, who played the part of Pete’s girlfriend, night club singer Edie Hart.
I was thinking about her a while back, while listening to various versions of “I’ve Got A Crush On You” for a recent Fantastic Foursome post. Although I didn’t include her rendition because it was fairly obscure, I did enjoy listening to her singing it, and I began to ponder. I wondered if the gorgeous performer (who is still around and now in her eighties) ever wished she’d developed the musical side of her career a little more completely?
Akron-born Lola Jean Albright certainly leaned toward acting in the early days, working in radio and doing some modeling before moving to Hollywood in the post-war years, where she soon landed a part in a new Kirk Douglas movie. Although she didn’t become an overnight star — in fact, she was broke and out of work for a while — she persevered and became a busy actress, along the way marrying and later divorcing actor Jack Carson (who’d wanted her to stay home and be a housewife).
When she landed the role in Peter Gunn in 1958, it not only gave her a steady job — and an Emmy nomination — but it also allowed her to utilize her singing voice, showcased by the lush music of Henry Mancini. During her three years on the show she generated two albums of solo work, much of it with Mancini’s help, but her career followed a mostly acting path after that. And even though she was never a major star, she did continue to work extensively in movies and TV for many years, so maybe that was indeed the right choice for her.