Speaking of yesterday’s name, Jilla…
In late 1953, an 18-year-old Italian-American girl from Pennsylvania named Norma Jean Speranza was the subject of a photographic essay in Life. She was “a small-town singer” about to get her big break. But she wouldn’t get that big break without adopting a stage name:
She even had to give up her name, for the people who are supposed to know best about those things decided she should be Norma Speranza no longer. From now on she would be Jill Corey.
As Jill Corey, she put out singles and appeared regularly on TV throughout the ’50s. Her biggest hit was the 1957 song “Love Me to Pieces.”
(She also had another name: Scarpo. It was a childhood nickname that referred to her big feet. Scarpa means “shoe” in Italian.)
Source: Parks, Gordon. “From Speranza to Corey.” Life 9 Nov. 1953.
Image: © 1953 Life