Kathryn Elizabeth Smith (May 1, 1907 – June 17, 1986), known professionally as Kate Smith and The First Lady of Radio, was an American singer, a contralto, best known for her rendition of Irving Berlin's "God Bless America".
She had a radio, television, and recording career spanning five decades, which reached its pinnacle in the 1940s. Smith became known as The Songbird of the South after her enduring popularity during World War II and contribution to American culture and patriotism.
Smith began recording in 1926. Her professional musical career began in 1930, when she was discovered by Columbia Records vice president Ted Collins, who became her longtime manager in 50–50 partnership. She later credited Collins with helping her overcome her self-consciousness, writing, "Ted Collins was the first man who regarded me as a singer, and didn't even seem to notice that I was a big girl." She noted, "I'm big, and I sing, and boy, when I sing, I sing all over!"..
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