Amo Ingraham was not just any random chorus girl – she was the daughter of a famous musical composer, Herbert Ingraham. However, Herbert died very young when Amo was just a baby – this set the course for the rest of her life. Being the daughter of such a famous man who become a semi-legend due to his early demise, was both a boon and a impediment for Amo who had to find her own way in life. But let’s learn more about her!
Herberta Amo Ingraham was born on July 8, 1909, in New York City, New York to Herbert Ingraham and Frances “Frankie” S. Campbell, their only child. Her father was a noted composer who died on August 24, 1910, when Amo was just one year old. Being the daughter Herbert Ingraham would have a huge impact on Amo’s life, as would his early death forever change the lives of both daughter and mother. In order to better understand this situation, here is the whole story of Amo’s dad, as written in his obituary:
Herbert Ingraham was born in Joliet, Illinois, on July 6th, 1882. He was the oldest child of Mr. and Mrs. Sam Ingraham, and came to Whiting with his parents when a very small boy. He was very popular with all who knew him, and when very young his talent in music manifested itself. At a very tender age he was a wonderful piano player as well as an exceptional violinist. .At the time of his death his playing was nothing short of a wonder.. About five years ago he began composing both vocal and instrumental music. One of his first songs was, “I Would If I Could But I Can’t, Because I’m Married Now.” This is the song which started him on the road to fame. When sung in New York it made a great hit, ‘especially with . Maurice Shapiro, the great music publisher, of Broadway and Thirty-ninth street. New York. Sahpiro waited for”. Mabel’ Hlte who had sung the sung, and asked the composer. They found great difficulty in learning just who Herbert Ingraham was, but finally learned that he was in Chicago, where he was at that time directing a band at the White City. Shapiro made a flying trip to Chicago whore he interviewed the composer. He then contracted with Ingraham to write his music for him exclusively. Four years ago he left for New York, where he has since been writing for Shapiro, and the number of his productions in this short time has been surprising, especially since for the past two years, he has been suffering from tuberculosis. Several of his songs were composed while lying in bed, too ill to be up. Some of Mr. Ingraham’s songs are: “Roses,” “The Ideal of My Dreams,’, “Aint You Coming Out Tonight,’ “Mis-tah Johnson, Goodnight,” “Go Find a Sweetheart From the Emerald Isle,” “I’ll Be Back In A Minute,” “When I Dream In The Glooming of You,”, “Won’t You Waltz Home Sweet Home With Me,” “When Heine Waltzed Round With His Hickory Limb,” “Tittle, Tittle. Tattle Tale.” and “Amo” (Lovell an intermezzo, which is arranged in both vocal and instrumental form. In addition to these are several others, and a number yet to be published. One song Mr. Ingraham did not live to finish, was about his little daughter, Herbie Amo, who is named after her father, and the song “Amo” which he has written. The death of Mr. Ingraham is mourned not only by a large circle of friends in Whiting, but in every place he has ever been, and not1 only those with whom he has come in contact personally, but with all who have enjoyed his music, which had a charm that none can. forget. , He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Frankie Campbell Ingraham, and 13 months old daughter, his, parents, Mr. and Mrs. Sam Ingraham, two sisters, Mrs. Sella Hendrickson, and Miss Myrtle Ingraham, and two -brothers. of Train Wreck Near Messrs. Robert and Roy Ingraham.
Many things in Amo’s life would be thus connected to her being Herbert’s daughter. As most things in life, this is as the same time a boon and a . On one hand, she continued her father’s legacy. On the other hand, many things were stuck in the past, in the “heyday” as we call it, and it’s much more difficult to move on when somebody so young and full of potential dies before fulfilling his .
After Herbert’s death, Fankie and Amo lived for a time in New York, then went to live with Frankie’s mother Lydia in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Frankie’s younger brother Eddie also lived with them. Amo grew up in Minnesota and attended elementary and high school there. Much like her dad, she had a knack for showbiz – she was a very good dancer. This propelled her to try her luck in New York after graduating from high school, working as a chorus girl in various nightclubs. Somehow she ended up in Los Angeles and her career started in 1929.
Amo appeared in a variety of lively 1930s musicals, sometime with a bevvy of scantly clad ladies (and you betcha that Amo was one of them)! When I checked her resume, I was amused to see that she appeared in not, one, not two but three Golddiggers movies – Gold Diggers of 1933, Gold Diggers of 1935 and Gold Diggers of 1937 and the cosmopolitan Gold Diggers in Paris. What so say, we all know what type of a movie they are – dance, sing, plenty of pretty ladies and fancy camerawork, and shiny, shiny costumes. Story, characters – meh, who’s even asking! Amo also made two silent movies, The Wild Party and Chasing Husbands.
Amo played the chorus girls plenty of times – except her Golddiggers sojourn, she was a chorine in: Palmy Days a totally whacky but very entertaining Eddie Cantor musical (perhaps one of his best!), Flying High, a not particularly successful Broadway transplant about a genius inventor (Bert Lahr) and his tries to dodge a very persistent admirer (Charlotte Greenwood),. Night World, an truly outstanding but little known movie, sharp as a tack and seedy as heck, about various going on in a prohibition Era night club, with an outstanding cast (Boris Karloff, George Raft, Lew Ayres, Mae Clarke…), The Match King, a very good movie about a ruthless industrials who will do anything to become number one (Warren William, a superb actor of the pre-Code era, perhaps gives his bets performance here), It’s Great to Be Alive a really weird musical with a totally out of this world whack story (An aviator who crash landed on an island in the South Pacific returns home to find that he is the last fertile man left on Earth after an epidemic of masculitus), Footlight Parade, a very sleazy but enjoyable precoder about the seedy New York underground with James Cagney in the lead, Fashions of 1934, a shallow but pretty to look at musical with Bette Davis and William Powell (as you can guess per the name of the movie, it’s all about fashions!), Wonder Bar, a witty and sparkly Al Jolson musical with the alluring Kay Francis as the female lead (and with a convoluted but a bit half brained story, but who’s asking), Varsity Show, another 30s musical, but since this one isn’t a Pre-Code, with much less scantly clad girls and more wholesome fun and Hollywood Hotel a typical Busby Berkeley extravaganza with Dick Powell in the lead .
Despite being foremost a prolific showgirl, Amo appeared in various other uncredited, small roles – in Merrily We Go to Hell, a drama dealing with alcoholism in a very simplistic way (Frederic March, an actor I adore, plays the drunk, and Sylvia Sidney is his devoted wife), she was a bridesmaid. The movie isn’t a bad piece of work, but it become predictable and almost didactic along the way, and as I noted, doesn’t’ really show the gist of a problem for an alcoholic and his family. She played a very small part in the murder mystery, The Woman Accused , perhaps more famous today as one of Cary Grant’s early movie than anything else. The movie is nothing to shout about, although it does have it’s moments. The story is a slight rip of from One way passage – Nancy Carroll plays a woman who is very happy with her new fiancée, Cary Grant. When an old flame comes back to threaten to have him killed, she kills him before he gets the chance. She then takes off on a 3-day cruise with Cary, convinced that it will be the only time they’ll have before she is caught. The cast is pretty okay, and there are some twists and turns, so it is watchable. Amo played by namesake in Stage Struck, a benign but not particularly exciting musical with Dick Powell and Jeanne Madden. Director Busby Berkeley is somehow out of form here, with little of his usual extravaganza moments.
Amo’s last movie, made in 1942, was Take a Letter, Darling, a romantic comedy in which the battle of the sexes involves Rosalind Russell’s career woman falling in love with her male secretary, played by Fred MacMurray. Directed by Mitchell Liesen, a very good craftsman, this is what classic Hollywood movies often are, infinitely charming and nice to look at. No big depth.
That was it from Amo!
Amo was born in NYC, grew up in Minneapolis and ended up in California, but she was connected to her father’s hometown, Hammond, Indiana. Herbert and Frankie resided in Hammond before going to New York and on Herbert’s death the body was returned for burial. She visited the place often.
Amo also had an almost esoteric interest in cooking, as this newspaper tidbit can attest:
Amo Ingraham doesn’t care much for fiction At the moment she’s deep in a volume dealing with south copying recipes ‘’I’m not planning on much professional use for them” she say? “But I like to’ cook once In a while and I think some soiuthern dishes are marvelous ”
As we already noted, Amo’s role as Herbert’s daughter was very important for her and greatly shaped her life. She worked tirelessly to continue his legacy. In 1936, Amo took the time to renew many of her father’s 1909 and 1910 copyrights in her name. Amo’s mother Frankie also remained very close to the Ingraham legacy, opting to to remarry and upon her own death in 1933 being buried next to her husband in the Hammond cemetery.
Amo married John Stuart Hyde on June 30, 1943. Hyde was circa 1891, in England, to William Hyde and Mary Cooper. John moved to the US at some point, got into California real estate and married his first wife, divorcing her later. He was a successful real estate man when he married Amo.
Little is known about their marital life, except they lived in Los Angeles and Amo was mostly retired from movies and showbiz by then. The marriage lasted until the early 1950s. Hyde remarried in 1953 and died on February 5, 1985.
Amo never remarried and spent her last years living in Santa Monica, California, surrounded by friends and family.
Amo Ingraham died on November 2, 1983, in Los Angeles and is interred at Forest Lawn-Glendale.