On this day in 1925, jazz singer, composer, arranger, actor & drummer Mel Tormé was born in Chicago, Illinois. Nicknamed the Velvet Fog, he is probably best known for co-writing "The Christmas Song" (often referred to as "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire").
A child prodigy, Tormé first sang professionally at age 4 in a Chicago restaurant! Between 1933 and 1941 he acted on radio serials and wrote his first song ... at age 13. While still a teen he sang, arranged, and played drums in a band led by Chico Marx (of the Marx Brothers). In 1943, Tormé made his movie debut in Frank Sinatra's first film Higher and Higher. Tormé went on to write some 250 songs, of which many became jazz standards.
Tormé's connection with Disney goes back to the 1948 live-action So Dear To My Heart, in which his song "County Fair" was used in. During the 1970s Tormé appeared numerous times at the Top of the World - a restaurant/show room once located at the top of Disney World's Contemporary Resort (today known as the California Grill). In 1996, he recorded and released the album "A&E: An Evening With Mel Tormé Live From the Disney Institute." In 2006 his timeless tune "The Christmas Song" was used in Disney's live-action holiday feature The Santa Clause 3.
Although Mel passed in 1999, the Tormé-Disney connection continues today as his son James (also a respected jazz singer) has performed with his trio at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.
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