Melvin Howard Tormé, nicknamed The Velvet Fog, was an American musician, known for his jazz singing. He was also a jazz composer and arranger, a drummer, an actor in radio, film, and television, and the author of five books. He co-wrote the classic holiday song "The Christmas Song" with Bob Wells.
Melvin Howard Tormé was born in Chicago, Illinois, to immigrant Russian Jewish parents, whose surname had been Torma. However, the name was changed at Ellis Island to "Torme." A child prodigy, he first sang professionally at age 4 with the Coon-Sanders Orchestra, singing "You're Driving Me Crazy" at Chicago's Blackhawk restaurant.
Between 1933 and 1941, he acted in the network radio serials The Romance of Helen Trent and Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy. He wrote his first song at 13, and three years later, his first published song, "Lament to Love," became a hit recording for Harry James. He played drums in Chicago's Shakespeare Elementary School drum and bugle corps in his early teens. While a teenager, he sang, arranged, and played drums in a band led by Chico Marx of the Marx Brothers. His formal education ended in 1944 with his graduation from Chicago's Hyde Park High School.
In 1943, Tormé made his movie debut in Frank Sinatra's first film, the musical Higher and Higher. He went on to sing and act in many films and television episodes throughout his career, even hosting his own television show in 1951–52. His appearance in the 1947 film musical Good News made him a teen idol for a few years.