Helen Forrest

Helen Forrest (April 12, 1917 - July 11, 1999) was an American singer. She served as the "girl singer" for three of the most popular big bands of the Swing Era (Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, and Harry James), thereby earning a reputation as "the voice of the name bands." Helen was born Helen Fogel in Atlantic City, New Jersey on April 12, 1917. Her parents, Louis and Rebecca Fogel, were Russian-born Jews. While she was still an infant, Helen's father died from influenza. ...show more

Helen Forrest (April 12, 1917 - July 11, 1999) was an American singer. She served as the "girl singer" for three of the most popular big bands of the Swing Era (Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, and Harry James), thereby earning a reputation as "the voice of the name bands." Helen was born Helen Fogel in Atlantic City, New Jersey on April 12, 1917. Her parents, Louis and Rebecca Fogel, were Russian-born Jews. While she was still an infant, Helen's father died from influenza.

Helen was raised by her mother, who often blamed her husband's death on the birth of Helen. She believed that God had taken her husband because she had wished so much for a baby girl. Helen had three older brothers: Harry, Ed, and Sam. The family relocated to Brooklyn when Helen was in her early teenage years.

Her mother married a house painter, a man that Helen disliked. Soon, Helen's mother and stepfather turned the family's home into a brothel. At age 14, Helen was nearly raped by her stepfather. Helen defended herself with a kitchen knife, injuring him. ...show less