(January 11, 1919 - March 23, 2000) was an American folk singer
, and television actor
. His anti-war classic, "Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream"
(1950), inspired and gave hope to those in the peace movement.
Born to a farming family in Willow Hill, Pennsylvania
, McCurdy left home at 18 to pursue a singing career. He first found success in 1938 as a singer and disc jockey at a gospel radio station in Oklahoma
. By the early 1940s, McCurdy, tall and handsome and with a big baritone voice, had become a popular singer of romantic songs in nightclubs across North America, until the legendary vaudeville fan dancer Sally Rand
caught his act, hired him to join her show, put him in a tuxedo and had him sing his romantic songs to her on stage while pushing her on her swing. He stayed in vaudeville for several years as a singer and straight man to comedian (Fat) Jack E. Leonard
, before moving in 1948, with his Canadian dancer wife and family to Vancouver
where he hosted his own radio show for CBC Radio
. With the success of this show, the CBC transferred him to the flagship national station in Toronto
where he starred in a morning children's show and an adult evening show. During his Canadian radio period, he developed life-time friendships with the guests on his show, such as Pete Seeger
, Lena Horne
, Josh White
, Oscar Peterson