Norma Jean Speranza was born on September 30, 1935, the youngest of five children. Her father, Bernard Speranza, worked in a coal mine in Kiski Township, Pennsylvania; When Norma became Jean Jill, she bought it for him and renamed it Corey Mine. Her mother, Clara (Grant) Speranza, died when she was 4 years old.
Her first appearances in the amateur lessons of the school were not unforgettable: typically enthusiastic Carmen Miranda imitations, for which she took last place. However, when she was 13, she won a Lion’s Club sponsored talent competition that featured a spot on local radio. The next year she was hired by a local orchestra to sing standards, $ 5 a night, 7 days a week. For the demo she sent to Mr. Miller, she sang a Tony Bennett song: “Since My Love Has Gone”.
She sang often at home, said Ms. Hoak, her only immediate survivor. Ms. Corey sang her daughter to sleep – Judy Garland and Billie Holiday mostly and to such an extent that her daughter complained, “Don’t you know any happy songs?”
Ms. Corey’s voice remained distinctive and it retained its flair. A few years ago she fell into her house and called 911. When the fire department emergency team arrived, she received them with typical calm, a scotch in one hand and a cigarette in the other.
The firefighters shrank from the cigarette.
Ms. Hoak remembered: “Mom said to you: ‘Oh come on! You guys know how to put out a fire, don’t you? «”