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Tuesday, July 12, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

Singing for troops was "greatest thing" for Frances Langford

MIAMI — Frances Langford, whose steamy rendition of "I'm in the Mood for Love" captivated soldiers when she was part of Bob Hope's USO tours during World War II, died yesterday at 92.

Langford had been ill with congestive heart failure and died at her home in Jensen Beach, said her lawyer, Evans Crary Jr.

Langford, a recording artist, radio star and actress from the 1930s to 1950s, joined Hope's troupe to boost wartime morale at military bases and hospitals in Great Britain, Italy, North Africa and the South Pacific. She also entertained new generations of soldiers in Korea and Vietnam.

She recalled in interviews decades later that entertaining the troops "was the greatest thing in my life."

Langford appeared in 30 movies, including "Broadway Melody," "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and "The Hit Parade." She played herself in her final film, 1954's "The Glenn Miller Story."

She played opposite Don Ameche on the popular 1940s radio comedy "The Bickersons."

Langford was married three times: first to actor Jon Hall, who appeared in films such as "The Hurricane" and "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves"; to outboard-motor heir Ralph Evinrude in 1955; and in 1994, to Harold Stuart, assistant secretary of the Air Force under Harry Truman. She had no children.

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

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