Buddy Clark (July 26, 1912 – October 1, 1949) was an American popular singer of the 1930s and 1940s. In the late 1940s, after his return from service in World War II, his career blossomed and he became one of the nation's top crooners. He died in a plane crash in 1949.
Clark was born Samuel Goldberg to Jewish parents in Dorchester, Massachusetts. He made his Big Band singing debut in 1932 as a tenor, with Gus Arnheim's orchestra, but was not successful. Singing baritone, he gained wider notice in 1934, with Benny Goodman on the Let's Dance radio program. In 1936 he began performing on the show Your Hit Parade, and remained until 1938. In the mid-1930s he signed with Vocalion Records, having a top-20 hit with "Spring Is Here". He continued recording, appearing in movies, and dubbing other actors' voices until he entered the military, but did not have another hit until the late 1940s.
In 1946 he signed with Columbia Records and scored his biggest hit with the song "Linda" recorded in November of that year, but hitting its peak in the following spring. "Linda" was written especially for the six-year-old daughter of a show business lawyer named Lee Eastman, whose client, songwriter Jack Lawrence, wrote the song at Lee’s request. Upon reaching adulthood, Linda became famous as a photographer, a musician (as a member of Wings, the 1970s band headed by her husband, former Beatle Paul McCartney), and a prominent spokeswoman for animal rights.
1947 also saw hits for Clark with such titles as "How Are Things in Glocca Morra?" (from the musical Finian's Rainbow), which made the Top Ten, "Peg O' My Heart", "An Apple Blossom Wedding", and "I'll Dance at Your Wedding". The following year he had another major hit with "Love Somebody" (a duet with Doris Day, selling a million and reaching #1 on the charts) and nine more chart hits, and extended his success into 1949 with a number of hits, both solo and duetting with Day and Dinah Shore. A month after his death, his recording of "A Dreamer's Holiday" hit the charts.
On Saturday, October 1, 1949, hours after the 37-year-old had completed a Club Fifteen broadcast on CBS Radio with The Andrews Sisters—subbing for ailing host Dick Haymes—Clark joined five friends in renting a small plane to attend a Stanford vs. Michigan State college football game. On the way back to Los Angeles after the game, the plane ran out of fuel, lost altitude, and crashed on Beverly Boulevard in West Los Angeles. Clark didn't survive the crash. Clark's last radio broadcast found him in very high spirits, clowning with Maxene, LaVerne, and Patty Andrews. He joined them for a comical rendition of "Baby Face," during which Buddy amused the CBS studio audience, as well as the famous swing trio of sisters, with his spot-on Al Jolson impression.
Clark had previously been married to Louise Hitz, stepdaughter of famed hotelier Ralph Hitz in 1935. They had two children (Tommy and Katherine) together before divorcing in 1941.