ANN LANDERS By Ann Landers
(c) 2000, Creators Syndicate Inc.
Monday , August 7, 2000
You recently printed a letter from a World War II vet who asked about Wynn Murray, a young singer with a USO troupe who entertained soldiers on Morotai in 1944. She performed in a downpour while lightning streaked across the sky. He said she
was magnificent, and asked whatever happened to her.
Thank you for printing that letter, Ann. Wynn Murray was my sister. Shortly after Wynn performed for those troops, she was hit with shrapnel in New Guinea, for which she received the Purple Heart. She was lucky. Two young chorus girls from the
company were killed. Later, Wynn went to the European theater, where she met and married a captain in the U.S. Army. She then retired and settled down as an Army wife. She and her husband had three daughters, Mary, Alice and Kathleen.
In 1957, Wynn died at the age of 35 from a heart attack. She is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Please tell the man who wrote how much our family appreciated his kind words about my sister. Her daughters were very young when Wynn died, and
his letter gave them some insight into their mother. It meant a great deal to us that she has not been forgotten.
— Ann Henning in Carbondale, Pa.
Thank you for letting us know what happened to your sister. I am sure countless veterans remember her and will be sorry to hear she died so young. We received a phone call from Wynn's daughter, Mary Russo, who confirmed the information you gave us, and let us know that her mother appeared in several Broadway shows and had a promising career before the war. Wynn's husband, Bill Rau, retired as a full colonel in the Army.
I heard from several veterans who remember Wynn Murray, as well as others who were moved to write about her courageous performance on Morotai:
From Aptos, Calif.: I met Wynn in 1951 at Fort Knox, Ky., where her husband was an instructor. Wynn was a warmhearted, beautiful woman whom I admired. I also dated Wynn's younger sister, Ann Marie. Unfortunately, our romance came to an end because her parents disapproved. I lost touch with them in 1955.
Long Island, N.Y.: I was on the island of Morotai when Wynn Murray entertained the troops. She was beautiful, and had the voice of an angel. She really knocked herself out, doing at least eight encores. What a great babe!
Antioch, Calif.: After Wynn Murray sang that night, her jeep never showed up. Luckily, I saw her running in the rain, and offered her a ride back to her tent.
Niles, Ill.: I am a musician and worked with Wynn Murray on the Olsen and Johnson show, “Sons O' Fun.” She was a terrific gal and very talented.
Santa Barbara, Calif.: In 1937, Wynn and I worked together in her first musical on Broadway, “Babes in Arms,” which had a very successful run. She was truly gifted, and some reviewers called her “a young Kate Smith.”
Philadelphia: When I was a teenager, Wynn Murray lived two houses from me in Mayfield, Pa. As a child, she treated me like a big sister, and always wanted me to take her places. She would be 79 years old now.
Wynn Murray was well-known on the Broadway musical stage from the mid-1930s until she retired to raise a family. I was a close friend of Wynn and her husband from 1953 until her death at Fort Meade, Md. After her death, I lost track of the family. If any of them contact you, Ann, I would love to get in touch.
Lt. Col. David M. GinsbergGermantown, Tenn.
To all who wrote: Thank you for your fond memories of Wynn Murray. I will forward your letters to her daughter, Mary Russo, who will no doubt share them with the entire family.
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard