Don Cherry Biography
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You may know him as Don Cherry the golfer or Don Cherry the singer, but most know him as the singing golfer.

   Donald Ross Cherry was born January 11th, 1924 in Wichita Falls, Texas and was the youngest of three children. Don graduated from Wichita Falls High School. After graduation he entered and won the city’s Junior Golf Championship. A month after the United States entered World War II, Don was drafted into the Army-Air Corps. When his four year service to the country was completed, he went back to competing in amateur golf tournaments. To everyone’s amazement, he turned out to be a prodigy in the sport because he ended up winning twenty four titles and earned ninety amateur trophies in a period of less than nine years. He soon came to realize that he could simultaneously handle both a golf career and singing career. He competed in golf tournaments during the day and performed during the night. His mellow baritone voice touched people, and he was quick to find work singing at local clubs.

babypic Don Cherry 6mos
youngdon cherry c.1950


Don Cherry c.1950

Don Cherry - Six Months

   In 1950, the record companies started taking notice of the young man with the velvet voice. Decca Records was the first to snatch him up with a contract. On May 5th, 1950, he recorded his first record with Decca, “Mona Lisa” with Victor Young and his Orchestra. Don’s name wasn’t on the label and people started making inquiries into who the voice belonged to. A short time later Decca teamed Don up with Artie Shaw to record “Just Say I Love Her” and “Don’t Worry “Bout Me”. This time his name appeared on the label. His third recording, “Thinking Of You”, shot to the number three position on the Hit Parade, instantly selling seven hundred thousand copies and giving him his first hit single.

   Soon Don’s career skyrocketed. Throughout the decade he had many hit records including,  “Wild Cherry”,  “I’m Still A King To You”,  and  “Ghost Town”. But by  far the most memorable was the million seller hit, “Band Of Gold”. It was not uncommon to find at least one of Don’s songs on the table top jukeboxes in the local diner or corner soda shop.

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   In 1952 Irving Berlin heard Don’s recording of “Maybe It’s Because” and invited Don to his office. He proceeded to tell Don that it was one of the best recordings he heard of his songs, and that it had prompted him to write a country song for Don. Unfortunately it wasn’t one of Mr. Berlin’s best songs, but the mere fact he had composed it strictly for Don overshadowed it’s flaws.

   In 1953 Don won the Canadian Amateur which allowed him to compete in the 1953 Walker Cup. He won for the United States. He finished 1953 as a semi finalist in the Southern Amateur and was honored as a member of the United State’s team in the American Golf Cup. His music career was taking off as well. He recorded the hit “Vanity” for Decca Records which shot straight to the top of the charts.

   In 1955 when Don played again for the Walker cup, Lord Brabazon, Captain of the Royal and Ancient Association, announced to the audience that “Bing Crosby and Bob Hope tried to make it to the British Amateur Golf Tournament but couldn’t qualify. We Finally found a golfer who could play golf and also sing. Mr. Cherry would you please honor us with a song”. So on the steps of St. Andrew, Don sang “I Believe” and was rewarded with an ovation which he will never forget. The next day the English papers published the following article:

They don’t think much of crooners in St. Andrews, even Bing’s swing leaves them cold. But when cheery nightclub singer Don Cherry stood on the gray steps of the Royal and Ancient Clubhouse and cooed into the mike only the bronze face of Old Tom Morris frowned from its plaque. Here is a man to respect. A man who helped give Britain’s best Amateur golfers their biggest home defeat in the Walker Cup by ten matches to two. In this hit parade, cheerful Cherry sang “I Believe”. He couldn’t have picked a better song, for in those two words is the secret of America’s golf supremacy. Americans BELIEVE they are the best. Americans BELIEVE they can play their best when the pressure is on, and do so. Here is just an example of their belief during their two day battle: Ward and Cherry played two in the same bunker and didn’t lose the hole. Cherry played an explosive shot out of a pot bunker and got a three, and the hole against Carr.

   The 1960s brought about some major changes for Don. In 1960 at the US Open at Cherry Hills in Denver, Colorado Don finished just four strokes behind the winner Arnold Palmer and two shots behind Jack Nicklaus who finished in second place. Jack and Don shot the two lowest scores ever shot in the US Open by amateurs. He was again chosen to play in the Walker Cup and not unlike their first two appearances, the United States once again finished undefeated. In all, during his amateur career Don competed in the Masters nine times, the Walker Cup three times, the America’s Cup twice, and eight US Opens. in 1962 he decided it was time to turn professional. During this time Don continued to perform to standing room only crowds in Laughlin, Reno, and Las Vegas, Nevada showrooms. He also took his show on the road throughout the United States (as well as other countries) and appeared on every major television show. Dan Jenkins, novelist and sports writer for Golf Digest, wrote: “Contrary to popular beliefs, Jimmy Demaret wasn’t the best golfer who could sing and Bing Crosby wasn’t the best singer who could play golf. The all-time best golfer/singer, singer golfer is Don Cherry.


Dean Martin and Don Cherry

   During one of his visits to Las Vegas, Don met the person who would have the most influence in both his professional and personal lives - Dean Martin. The two hit it off almost immediately and became inseparable for many years to come.They would regularly meet out on the golf course in the mornings to trade jokes and just talk about anything and everything. Dean started his own television variety show about the same time Don signed on with Monument Records.

   The level  of  respect and admiration between these two men


for each other ran so deep there wasn’t anything one would not do for the other. Don relocated permanently to Las Vegas in 1967, where his name was a fixture on many marquees including “The Sands”, “The Tropicanna”, “The Dunes”, “The Hilton”, “The Golden Nugget”, “The Aladdin”, and was a mainstay at “The Desert Inn”.


   Don has always been the picture of good health and one of his pastimes (besides golf) is jogging. While out jogging one morning he met the love of his life “Francine”. They were married on October 2nd, 1993. She also had an illustrious career that included performing in twenty eight Broadway shows. She is a talented singer and has been described by her husband as the best dance in the world.

   Today, Don keeps busy performing, playing golf tournaments and working with charitable organizations.

   Don now has started recording independently. His CD’s are currently available on his web site.

don cherry

Don and Francine Cherry

Don still performs continually across the United States. Don’s voice remaines as good today as it always was. Like fine wine it has become even better over time. There is so much more of Don’s unblievable career that the only way to learn more about him and all of his celebrity friends is to check his web site.

 web site:

Don Cherry Music

928 Pine Hurst Dr.

Las Vegas, Nevada 89109

(702) 735-3884

Call between 9 am - 7 pm PST

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