Helen Marcovicci, a brunette and brown-eyed beauty known as a 1940s nightclub singer, died Thursday in Carmel, NY. She was 97. Ms. Marcovicci died in her sleep of natural causes.
She is survived by daughter, actress and cabaret singer Andrea Marcovicci; son Peter Marcovicci, an engineer of specialty race cars; granddaughter Alice Reichert; sisters Mary Walker, Elaine Petock; and brother Andrew Figura.
Ms. Marcovicci arrived in New York from Lehigh, Pennsylvania, at the tender age of eighteen to work as an au pair. Later, she waited tables and modeled dresses before being named a Miss Television at the 1939 World’s Fair, and appearing at such clubs as the Maisonette, and La Vie Parisienne under the name Helen Stuart.
A 1944 Billboard review noted that she had “swell pipes and excellent delivery… poise, diction, and [that she] delivers with assurance.”
In 1945 she wed the “waltzing doctor” Eugene Marcovicci, a noted internist and house physician for upscale hotels. The couple frequented New York’s café society with evenings at the Stork Club and El Morocco until she went into semi-retirement to care for her family. She was widowed in 1968 and remarried Dana Carroll in 1980 who has preceded her in death.
An avid tennis player and sailor, Ms. Marcovicci won numerous trophies for her prowess both on the court and over the water.
In later years, during her daughter Andrea’s annual engagement at the Oak Room of the Algonquin Hotel, she appeared on Thursday nights for almost 25 years where she displayed a quick wit, a broad smile, and a signature pair of bright red glasses. She stopped the show at The Town Hall and received a standing ovation at the 15th Annual Cabaret Convention. Stephen Holden of The New York Times wrote, “the evening’s high point was Helen’s solemn, tragic rendition of ‘Take Me in Your Arms.’” She repeated the feat in her 90th year during her daughter’s birthday concert. A video of her performing that song, along with other numbers, at a Los Angeles nightclub is posted on YouTube.
Funeral services will be held this Thursday, August 25th, at Cargain Funeral Home, 10 Fowler Ave., Carmel, NY 10512 (845) 225-3672. Reception at 11:00 am, followed by a service at noon.