HELEN JEPSON Biography - Actors and Actresses


Biography » actors and actresses » helen jepson


Name: Helen Jepson                                                                   
Born: 28 November 1904                                                               
Died: 16 September 1997                                                             
Helen Jepson was an American lyric soprano noted for being a "stunning blond         
beauty" as well as for her voice.                                                   
She was born in Titusville, Pennsylvania on November 28, 1904 and raised in         
Akron, Ohio, where she studied voice performed in high school operatic               
productions. She attended the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia on scholarship       
and there sang with the Philadelphia Civic Opera and formed a four singer group     
called "The Mississippi Misses", traveling "6,000 miles in 12 weeks giving           
concerts in 87 towns."                                                               
Her professional success accelerated in Philadelphia leading to a move to New       
York with her husband, flautist George Poselle.                                     
Her career in radio began in 1933 with a performance with the Hamburger Symphony     
Orchestra conducted by Philip James. The broadcast was only local to New Jersey.     
She would later perform on the radio with bandleaders Paul Whiteman and Rudy         
Vallee also. She was selected as Most Important New Air Personality of 1934."       
Her radio broadcasts attracted the attention of the Metropolitan Opera and her       
debut there was in John Laurence Seymour's one-act opera In the Pasha's Garden.     
Her husband would also find work at the Met.                                         
Jepson sung as lead soprano with the Metropolitan Opera from 1935 to 1941. Some     
of her best known roles while at the Met include Desdemona in Othello and           
Marguerite in Faust. The Faust recording is still in print, as is her               
recording of Porgy and Bess; she was the first soprano to record in that role,       
and the extant recording of her was supervised by Gershwin himself.                 
Jepson's attempt to move into Hollywood was unsuccessful, although it did expose     
her to wider audiences. Her only film role was 1938's unsuccessful The Goldwyn       
Follies, in which she sang "The Brindisi" from Verdi's La Traviata, Enrico           
Toselli's "La Serenata", the Gershwins' "Love Walked In", and "Sempre Libre".       
Paramount offered her further work, but as filmed opera never proved successful,     
the deal never came to fruition.                                                     
Jepson was a resident of Closter, New Jersey                                         
In later life, Jepson volunteered as a speech therapist for children with           
cerebral palsy and was active in the Miami arts community.                           
Jepson's popularity was in large part born of simply being an American in a         
field flooded with European talent, but her talent and populism was also             
strongly connected to her great talent. She died in Bradenton, Florida on           
September 16, 1997.