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date: 22 January 2020

Payne, Virginialocked

(1910–10 February 1977)
  • George H. Douglas


Payne, Virginia (1910–10 February 1977), radio actress and entertainment union leader, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. Personal information on Payne is scant. She took two degrees from the University of Cincinnati and apparently had given some thought to making her way in the world as a singer. Payne broke into radio on the local station WLW while still in college, playing the part of Honey Adams, a singing southern belle, on a program soon to be known to Americans everywhere as “Ma Perkins.” The program began in a very modest way at the Cincinnati station in the summer of 1933, and then on 4 December 1933 it moved to Chicago, where it became an NBC network program. Within only a year the program became perhaps the prototype of what would be called soap opera but which in the radio industry was called the daytime serial. The identity of Payne had to be kept secret because she was a 23-year-old playing the role of Ma Perkins, a middle-aged woman with grown children, an effect not too hard to achieve on radio for someone with voice training....

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