Jimmie Shields | The Canadian Encyclopedia

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Jimmie Shields

Jimmie (James Knox) Shields. Tenor, b Vineland, near St Catharines, Ont, 19 Aug 1912, d Toronto 9 May 1982.

Shields, Jimmie

Jimmie (James Knox) Shields. Tenor, b Vineland, near St Catharines, Ont, 19 Aug 1912, d Toronto 9 May 1982. Raised in Hamilton, Ont, he made his radio debut on CHML at 18 and performed in Toronto in 1932 on CKNC as 'The Golden Masked Tenor' and 1933-6 on the independently syndicated 'Neilson Show' and various CBC programs, specializing in Irish, Scottish, and English ballads. One of the most popular 'Irish tenors' in Canada of the day, he rose to further fame 1937-41 in New York and Hollywood, singing with the orchestras of Morton Gould and Eddie Duchin and on the radio shows of Jack Benny, Fred Allen, and Fibber McGee and Molly and starring (1939) on his own weekly NBC program, 'Enna-Jettick Melodies'. After appearing 1942-6 as the 'Singing Sergeant-Major' in The Army Show and studying voice 1946-7 in New York with Alfredo Martino, Shields was a leading performer 1948-54 with the CBC Opera, where his robust lyric tenor served the Italian repertoire handsomely. He appeared at Massey Hall during the 1940s and 1950s and several times 1949-51 with the TSO. He sang with the Royal Conservatory Opera (Rodolfo in La Bohème 1951, 1954; Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly 1951, 1953, 1956), and continued to perform for CBC radio and TV, notably 1948-64 on 'Bod's Scrapbook,' and again on CHML. Declining personal appearances after 1956, Shields retired in 1964 to establish the Celebrity Club, a restaurant-social club in Toronto.

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