Mary & Richard Webb in Isn't It Romantic?

Mary and Howard Keel in Oklahoma!


The "surrey with the fringe on top" from Oklahoma!            

     Mary and Alfred Drake in Pursuit of Happiness



Mary and Desi Arnaz in Holiday in Havana


Mary, Frank Grasso and Howard Keel

See a video slide show of scenes from Oklahoma! with Mary and Howard Keel, along with an awesome medley of songs sung by Keel in 1947.

Howard Keel doing Oklahoma medley in London, 1992


Mary Hatcher Returns to Tampa

In September, 1947, Hatcher returned to Tampa for a gala opening of Variety Girl at the Tampa Theatre. Crowds turned out to honor their home-town movie star, and Tampa mayor Curtis Hixon presented Mary with flowers and a golden key to the city. While in Tampa, she visited her sponsor, Ralph Polk, at his home on Davis Islands. Mary stayed with an aunt, Mrs. Charles E. Sommers, and cousin, Patsy Sommers. When Mary appeared at the Tampa Theatre, the length of her dress attracted comments. She was wearing "The New Look," a longer skirt than was current until then.  Earlier, a Tribune writer had described her as "a misty-eyed vision in black" when she stepped from a plane at the airport.



Mary Hatcher arriving in Tampa at Peter O. Knight Airport, Sept. 1947

1948 Newspaper article
"Mary Hatcher Due For
Major Film Role After Setback"





Mary Hatcher and fans in front of the Tampa Theatre, theater manager Obediah Gaines Finley, far right, Sept. 1947

In February 1951, Mary was a headliner at the El Rancho Vegas Hotel in Las Vegas on a bill including Herkie Styles and Benny Goodman. In 1951-52, she starred as Maid Marion in Tales of Robin Hood, a film which reportedly was the pilot for a projected but never-realized television series.

After a promising start in show business, she seems to vanish from public view around 1952; or at least from the view of readily accessible print and electronic resources. Her first husband Herkie Styles died in San Bernardino, CA in June of 1986.


The Tales of Robin Hood and this 1951 Playtex ad were Mary's last works in show business.

Mary Hatcher receives flowers from Tampa Mayor Curtis HIxon, onstage at the Tampa Theatre

Frank Grasso and Mary onstage at the Tampa Theatre

Mary and "Salty" Sol Fleischman of WDAE Radio and WTVT Television

Mary Hatcher hanging out with her Plant High School friends at the Colonnade, 1947

Mary at the Columbia Restaurant, 1947

Recollections of Bill Schultz, Tampa Theatre Manager 1950-52

"The first date I ever had was at The Tampa Theatre. I was ten, and she was eleven. (I was always fond of older women.) I even remember the movie. It was called “My Favorite Wife,” and it starred Cary Grant and Irene Dunn. After the movie, we bumped into some of my friends and I went off to play and let her go home by herself. I was somewhat inexperienced at the time. If I had known she was going to turn out to be a Hollywood starlet, I don’t think I would have made such a bad decision. And a Hollywood starlet she became. Her name was Mary Hatcher, a little girl with a golden voice. Seven years later, she made a personal appearance at The Tampa Theatre, and the theatre manager, O.G. Finley, had his picture taken with her, framed that picture and hung it on his office wall. It was still there when I became the theatre’s assistant manager in 1950, but I never told O.G. I had known her so long ago. Mary made several movies early in her career. She had a bit part in “Our Hearts Were Young and Gay”, starring Gail Russell and Diana Lynn, and some others which I can’t recall at the moment. Her career started to take off in the late 40’s, with a starring role in a Desi Arnaz movie. But her career was brief. Mary Hatcher was born a beautiful lady, and the life of Tinsel Town was not for her. She gave it up in the early 50’s to become a wife and mother and, as far as I know, she still lives in Los Angeles. She would be in her seventies now, and I’m sure she has grown old with grace and dignity, and I’d be willing to bet she still has her beauty."  (Mary would be 80 in 2010.)

Tampa Theatre Manager Obediah G. Finley and Mary Hatcher, 1947


Mary Hatcher boarding her plane in Tampa, Sept. 1947  

Mary Hatcher visited Tampa again, in 1950,  to perform with her husband, comedian Herkie Styles (1921-1986), at the roof-top dinner club of the city's posh Bayshore Royal Hotel. Herkie was born Herman Silverman in Columbus, Ohio and started in show business as a tap-dancer.  He then performed vaudeville as a comedian where he became recognized as a "top flight pro", playing in major supper clubs around the world with his piano and drum, song and dance bits, and quick-witted ad-libs which became his trademark

The local press described formerly-brunette Mary as "very blonde," noting that she had recently been singing with Howard Keel in the extended Broadway run of Oklahoma!.

Mary's marriage to Herkie Styles was short-lived.  They soon divorced and Mary married drummer Alvin Stoller in 1951.




Alvin Stoller, 1953

Alvin Aaron Stoller (October 7, 1925 – October 19, 1992) was an American jazz drummer who was held in high regard in the 1940s and 1950s. Born in New York City, Stoller studied with drum teacher Henry Adler and launched his career touring and recording with swing era big bands as notable as those of Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, and Charlie Barnet. He backed singers like Billie Holiday, Mel Tormé, and Frank Sinatra on some of their major recordings. His drums may be heard on Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Duke Ellington Songbook, he performed with the Duke Ellington orchestra itself, alongside Ellington's own Sam Woodyard. Stoller also recorded with Art Tatum, Roy Eldridge, Oscar Peterson, Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster Benny Carter, and Erroll Garner among many other jazz greats. In the 1950s, Stoller settled in the Los Angeles area, where he became respected for his work in the Hollywood studios, lasting for several decades. Leonard Feather considered him a "first-rate, swinging drummer". That Buddy Rich, whom some consider to have been the greatest of all jazz drummers, chose Stoller to play drums on an album in which Rich himself sang suggests the esteem Stoller earned from his fellow musicians.  Tastefully discreet when backing singers or in a small group setting and powerfully propulsive when driving a big band, Stoller was one of the best late swing era drummers even if he was sometimes overlooked thanks to his long service in film and television studios in late years.



Alvin Stoller in the 1947 movie, "The Fabulous Dorseys"
See and hear him in action in this movie, in the Dorsey Bros. orchestra performing "Marie" - advance the slider to the 1 hour 12 minute mark.

Mary Hatcher's Post-Showbiz career

From a 2001 interview with Mary by Leland Hawes, Tampa Tribune reporter and history writer

Several events took place in 1952 that caused Mary to decide against continuing in show business.  Her marriage to Herkie Styles had ended, and the Broadway musical "Texas Li'l Darlin' " was wrapping up.  She had a leading role with Kenny Delmar in "I wanted to rest," she said.

But even as she made the decision to forsake show business and marry Alvin Stoller, tempting offers continued to present themselves. That same week a representative for singer Mel Torme called Mary to see if she'd be interested in joining him on a weekly radio show. She had already turned down an opportunity to try out for the role of Alice on "The Honeymooners" TV show with Jackie Gleason.  "I chose Alvin," Hatcher said. "I wanted to rest, to be a housewife and have children. I wanted to do all the things my mom had been doing.  We knew we wanted to be together."  Their marriage would last 40 years, ending when Alvin died in 1992.

Hatcher said she turned her back on the career that started when she was 8 or 9 years old, with Frank Grasso as her voice coach. Thanks to Ralph Polk Sr., who had "love in his heart for gifted people," she received the financial backing she needed for trips to New York for further training. "My career blossomed" Hatcher said, "It was like a Cinderella story."

Mary and Alvin travelled, and lived in the San Fernando Valley most of their married life but spent a year or two in Colorado and in New Mexico. They moved to Llano in the high desert in 1988."

But Mary continued to be involved in music. She and her husband composed a ballad called "Magdalena" and she made an occasional television appearance.  Mary wrote several other gospel songs, and along with her husband and children, hold several copyrights for musical works.  Most of her singing has been in church and temple settings.

"Abba" Father, 1976, "King of Is"(rael) 1983, Little Shephard [sic] 1983, Where there is faith 1983, Rivers of Living Water 1983, He Put Me Together (When I Fell Apart) 1983, Let "Jesus Is Lord" Be Your Song 1982, Intercessory 1987, Childhood Days, 1987.

Words & music by Mary Hatcher Stoller, Alvin Stoller, Serene Stoller, David Stoller.

Copyright Claimant: Mary Hatcher Stoller, Alvin Stoller, Serene Stoller & David Stoller

Names:Mary Hatcher Stoller 1929-Alvin Stoller 1925-Serene Stoller 1963-David Stoller 1965

Much of Mary's time was spent raising two grandchildren, Elicia and John, who were 15 and 14 at the time.   "They are so special," she said.   It had been many years since Mary visited Tampa, and she spoke of a return before too long. "I really loved Tampa and would like to see it again."

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