Richard Benjamin "Dick" Haymes was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1918. His mother, whom Haymes predeceased, was Irish-born Marguerite Haymes (1894–1987), a well-known vocal coach and instructor. Dick Haymes became a vocalist in a number of big bands, worked inHollywood, on radio, and in films throughout the 1940s/1950s.
Though never achieving the immensely popular status of fellow baritone crooners like Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, or Perry Como, Haymes was nonetheless just as respected for his musical ability. He teamed with female vocalist Helen Forrest for many hit duets during World War Two, including "Together," "I'll Buy That Dream," and "Long Ago and far Away"; he sang with Judy Garland on two Decca recordings of songs from a film "The Shocking Miss Pilgrim" in which he appeared with Betty Grable; and he paired repeatedly with the famous Andrews Sisters (Patty, Maxene, and LaVerne) on a dozen or so Decca collaborations, including the Billboard hit "Teresa," "Great Day," "My Sin," and a masterful 1952 rendering of the dramatic ballad "Here in My Heart," backed by the sisters and Nelson Riddle's lush strings.
His duets with Patty Andrews were also well received, both on Decca vinyl and on radio's "Club Fifteen" with the sisters, which he hosted in 1949 and 1950. He also joined Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters for an historic session in 1947 producing the Billboard hit "There's No Business Like Show Business", as well as "Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better)". His popular renditions of tender ballads such as "Little White Lies" and "Maybe It's Because" were recorded with mood master and exceptional arranger Gordon Jenkins and his orchestra and chorus. Jenkins achieved a haunting beauty in several recordings with Decca artists which set them apart from most musical fare of the day, including The Andrews Sisters' "I Can Dream, Can't I?" and The Weavers' "Goodnight, Irene" (both million-selling, number-one hits).
World War II
Haymes's birth in Argentina to non-U.S. citizens meant he was not an American citizen. In order to avoid military service during World War II, Haymes asserted his non-belligerent status as a citizen of Argentina, which was neutral at that time. Hollywood-based columnists Louella Parsons and Hedda Hopper seized upon this at the time, questioning Haymes' patriotism, but the story had little effect on Haymes' career. About that time, he was classified 4-F by the draft board because of hypertension. As part of his draft examination, he was confined for a short period to a hospital at Ellis Island, which confirmed his hypertension. However, Haymes' decision would come back to haunt him in 1953 when he went to Hawaii (then a territory and, technically, not part of the United States) without first notifying immigration authorities. On trying to return to the mainland United States, Haymes was nearly deported to Argentina, but won his battle to remain in the United States.
Haymes was married six times. His more notable marriages were to film actresses Joanne Dru (1941–1949), Rita Hayworth (1953–1955), and Fran Jeffries (1958–1964). He was also married to Nora Eddington, a former wife of Errol Flynn. Haymes' wives bore him a total of six children.
Dick Haymes died in Los Angeles from lung cancer in 1980. He was 61 years old.