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John Morton Downey

Birthdate: (83)
Birthplace: Wallingford, CT, USA
Death: October 25, 1985 (83)
Palm Beach, FL, USA (Stroke)
Place of Burial: Wallingford, New Haven County, Connecticut, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of James Andrew Downey and Bessie Anna Downey
Husband of Margaret Boyce Schulze and Ann Trainer
Ex-husband of Barbara Jane Bennett
Father of Sean Morton Downey, Jr.; Anthony Downey; Kevin P Downey; Michael Downey and Lorelle Downey
Brother of George Downey; Eddie Downey; Bessie Ferrier and Helen Downey

Occupation: Jazz Singer, Irish Tenor
Managed by: Ric Dickinson
Last Updated:

About Morton Downey

Morton Downey (November 14, 1901 – October 25, 1985) was a singer popular in the United States, enjoying his greatest success in the 1930s and 1940s. Downey was nicknamed "The Irish Nightingale".

Sean Morton Downey was born in Wallingford, Connecticut, the child of James and Bessie (Cox) Downey. He later dropped his first name in favor of his middle name as his professional name

For a time in the 1920s, Downey, a tenor, sang with Paul Whiteman's Orchestra. He first recorded in 1923 for Edison Records under the pseudonym Morton James; the following year he recorded for Victor with the S.S. Leviathan Orchestra. In 1925 he began 4 years of recording for Brunswick Records. In 1926 he had a hit in the show Palm Beach Nights.

He toured London, Paris, Berlin, New York City and Hollywood. He also began appearing in motion pictures in 1929.

Downey was also a songwriter whose most successful numbers include "All I Need is Someone Like You", "California Skies", "In the Valley of the Roses", and "Now You're in My Arms", "Sweeten Up Your Smile", "That's How I Spell Ireland", "There's Nothing New", and "Wabash Moon". He joined ASCAP in 1949.

In 1930, Downey began making national radio broadcasts after opening his own nightclub (The Delmonico) in New York. He was voted America's "Radio Singer of the Year" in 1932. At the time, Downey was featured nightly on the Camel Quarter Hour radio broadcast. In the 1930s he recorded for ARC, Hit of the Week, and Decca Records, and in the 1940s made records for Columbia.

Starting in 1949, Morton Downey began appearing on television. In the 1950s, he hosted the television show Star of the Family.

Morton Downey was the father of the right-wing television personality Morton Downey, Jr., by his first wife, actress Barbara Bennett (1906–1958), the sister of actresses Constance and Joan Bennett. Her early promise as a dancer and actress gave way to her turbulent marriage with Downey. The couple married in 1929, and divorced in 1941. She would marry singing cowboy actor Addison Randall shortly afterward. Downey and Bennett had five children, four boys and a daughter

Downey's second wife was Margaret Boyce Schulze (1922—1964), the former wife of Prince Alexander zu Hohenlohe-Ingelfingen and the granddaughter of Colorado mining industralist William Boyce Thompson.

Downey owned a house in Hyannis, Massachusetts next to Joseph P. Kennedy's. This house was used by John F. Kennedy as his summer White House.

Downey's third wife was Ann Trainer, the widow of Howell Van Gerbig and the former wife of John Kevin Barry; they married in 1970. Downey died from a stroke in Palm Beach, Florida, aged 83.

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Morton Downey's Timeline

November 14, 1901
Wallingford, CT, USA
December 9, 1932
Age 31
Los Angeles, CA, USA
November 2, 1935
Age 33
New York, New York, United States
August 6, 1938
Age 36
New York, New York, United States
October 25, 1985
Age 83
Palm Beach, FL, USA