SPRINGFIELD, MO (CelebrityAccess) — Dorothy "Dottie" Ann Dillard, one of the Anita Kerr Singers who provided backup vocals on a host of popular recordings, died on May 6th. She was 91.
A graduate of Drury College, Dillard got her first break in the music business with an audition at a Nashville radio station and she was soon performing with artists such as Snookie Lanson, Minnie Pearl, Roy Acuff, Jim Reeves, Eddy Arnold, and Jimmy Dean.
She joined the Anita Kerr Quartet in the 1950s, performing on radio and television programs such as the "Ozark Jubilee," "Grand Ole Opry," and the "Arthur Godfrey Show." The group would go on to win two Grammys, one for best vocal group on the album, "We Dig Mancini" and the second for best vocal group on a religious album, "George Beverly Shea Sings Southland Favorites With The Anita Kerr Quartet".
She also performed backing vocals for numerous recording artists, including Perry Como, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Pete Fountain, Al, Hirt and Burl Ives. Her singing can be heard in the chorus of songs such as "Have a Holly Jolly Christmas," "Jingle Bell Rock," "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer," and "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree."
Dillard retired in 1981 and returned to Springfield, where she lived for the remainder of her life.
She is survived by beloved nieces Suzanne Dillard Burke and Sarah "Sally" Young (David) and daughters; beloved cousins George III, Lynn and Karen Thompson; Patsy Thompson and Nancy White (Michael); dearest friends Susie and Dale Nelson and extended Horner family and Lisa and Steve Hendrick. – Staff Writers