Rosa Rio

Show Count: 13
Series Count: 5
Role: Old Time Radio Star
Old Time Radio
Born: June 2, 1902, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Died: May 13, 2010, Sun City Center, Florida, USA

Rosa Rio (June 2, 1902 – May 13, 2010), born Elizabeth Raub, was an American theater and motion picture organist known also for production and arrangement. Rosa Rio began her career as a silent film accompanist. She became a leading organist on network radio for soap opera and drama and continued to perform until age 107, becoming one of the oldest performers in the music industry with a lengthy career, particularly in theatre.


Rosa Rio was raised in New Orleans. At the age of four, she began playing the piano and started taking lessons when she was eight years old. At the age of nine, Rio first played the piano at a silent movie theatre. After her musical education at Oberlin College, she studied at the Eastman School of Music. As a theatre organist, she performed in Syracuse, the Loew's theaters in New York, as well as Saenger's Southeastern theatre chain, the Scranton Paramount, Brooklyn Fox Theatre, RKO Albee and the Brooklyn Paramount.She was working at the Saenger Theatre in her hometown of New Orleans when Al Jolson's The Jazz Singer was released, signaling the end of the silent film era. At a birthday concert in 2007, she revealed her true age, June 2, 1902, thereby making her 107 years old when she died in 2010.


Bill Yeoman, her husband for 63 years said that initially her name was Elizabeth Raub, but then she used a stage name of Rosa Rio as it fitted easily on a theater marquee. Her early marriage to John Hammond, a fellow organist who was also her professor at the Eastman School of Music, ended in divorce. They had a son, John Hammond III who died before her on May 13, 2010. According to published accounts, she had three grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and a pet snail named Iowa.


Caricature of Rosa Rio reflecting on her career as a staff organist for NBC Radio.

During her 22 years in a radio station, she was known as Queen of the Soaps, providing the organ background music for 24 soap operas and radio dramas, and playing an average of five to seven shows per day. Some of the programs she played for included Bob and Ray, Ethel and Albert, Front Page Farrell, Lorenzo Jones, My True Story, The Shadowand When a Girl Marries.

During World War II she had her own radio show, Rosa Rio Rhythms. On some occasions, she went right from one program to another, as when Lorenzo Jones and Bob and Ray were both adjacent on NBC's schedule during the early 1950s. Sometimes, she had less than 50 seconds to run from one NBC studio to another.

Television and videos

Rosa made a smooth transition into television, playing for shows such as As the World Turns and The Today Show.However, television offered fewer opportunities for work in comparison to radio, so Rosa Rio moved to Connecticut where she opened a school of music teaching singing, the organ and piano.

During the 1980s, she provided scores and Hammond organ accompaniment to more than 370 silent films released on video by Video Yesteryear.

Tampa tempo

In 1993, she moved to Hillsborough County in Florida, where she provided accompaniment to silent films at the Tampa Theatre. It was from the stage of the Tampa Theatre in 2007 that she first publicly gave her real age, which she kept to herself for decades due to age discrimination dating back to her network radio years. Because Rio never celebrated birthdays, some of the members of family weren't aware of her age until the night before her Tampa Theatre "confession". She celebrated her 107th birthday in June 2009. Her organ arrangements are still in print and available from Michael's Music Service.

Rio died on May 13, 2010, just three weeks short of her 108th birthday.

Source: Wikipedia

Between The BookendsBetween The Bookends
Show Count: 2
Broadcast History: 26 July 1934 to 9 September 1938 and 12 September 1938 to 3 June 1955
Cast: Ted Malone, Alden Russell, Tony Wons
Ethel And AlbertEthel And Albert
Show Count: 1
Broadcast History: Early 1940s, 29 May 1944 to 24 June 1949, and 16 January 1949 to 28 August 1950
Cast: Peg Lynch, Alan Bunce, Richard Widmark, Madeleine Pierce
Director: Robert Cotton, William D Hamilton
Producer: Peg Lynch
Ethel and Albert (aka The Private Lives of Ethel and Albert) was a radio and television comedy series about a married couple, Ethel and Albert Arbuckle, living in the small town of Sandy Harbor. Created by Peg Lynch (born 1916), who scripted and portrayed Ethel, the series first aired on local Minnesota radio in the early 1940s, followed by a run on NBC, CBS and ABC from May 29, 1944 to August 28, 1950.
Myrt and MargeMyrt and Marge
Show Count: 111
Broadcast History: 1931 to 1946
Cast: Alice Yourman, Helen Mack, Myrtle Vail, Donna Damerel, Alice Goodkin
Director: Bobby Brown, John Gunn
Shadow, TheShadow, The
Show Count: 243
Broadcast History: 31 July 1930 to 26 December 1954
Sponsor: Wildroot Cream Oil, Blue Coal, Street and Smith Love Story Magazine, Perfect-o-Lite, Grove Laboratories, US Air Force
Cast: Bill Johnstone, Bret Morrison, Dwight Weist, James La Curto, Mandel Kramer, Orson Welles, Santos Ortega, Various, Agnes Moorehead, Everett Sloane, Gertrude Warner, Lesley Woods, Keenan Wynn, Marjorie Anderson, Grace Matthews, Alan Reed, Ted de Corsia, Arthur Vinton, Kenny Delmar, John Barclay, Robert Hardy Andrews, Jimmy LaCruto, Bob Maxwell
Director: Wilson Tuttle, Bill Sweets, Harry Ingram, John Cole, Dana Noyes, Chick Vincent
Producer: Wilson Tuttle, Bill Sweets, Harry Ingram, John Cole, Dana Noyes, Chick Vincent
The shadow was amateur criminologist Lamont Cranston. He had learned “the hypnotic power to cloud men’s minds so that they cannot see him”. The opening to the show, “Who knows … what evil … lllllurks … in the heart of men? … The Shadow knows! His “friend and companion, the lovely Margo Lane, is the only person who knows to whom the voice of the invisible Shadow belongs”. Together they confront the maddest assortment of lunatics, sadists, ghosts and werewolves ever heard on the air.
Broadcast: 1946
Added: Oct 30 2021
Broadcast: December, 1948
Added: Nov 05 2022
Broadcast: June 20, 1949
Added: Oct 31 2021