Corky Hale (Jazz Harpist, Pianist and Vocalist) was born in a small mid-western farm town and started taking piano lessons at age three. At age seven, while vacationing with her family in Florida, Hale was heard in the lobby of her hotel picking out tunes on the piano by House bandleader, Horace Heidt. Heidt had a little band jacket made for her and featured her for the next few weeks in the evening show. She began studying piano at Chicago Conservatory at the age of seven, and harp at the age of eight.
She has performed at The White House with Tony Bennett, as well as appearing with him on “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson”, soloed with Barbra Streisand in Central Park and at the Hollywood Bowl, and performed with Björk on her MTV Special in London. Hale has also appeared with George Michael at London’s Royal Albert Hall and Washington, D.C.’s RFK Stadium. She has played harp for Liberace (on his television show and at Madison Square Garden) and Judy Collins, piano for Billie Holiday, Mel Tormé and Peggy Lee, and sung with the bands of Harry James, Ray Anthony and Jerry Gray.
In addition to her musical accomplishments, Hale jokingly considers herself the ultimate cook-housewife. She has been happily married since 1970 to songwriter Mike Stoller of the team Leiber & Stoller, whose show “Smokey Joe’s Café” still holds the record as the longest running musical revue in Broadway history. She and her husband have built, in partnership with Planned Parenthood, three state-of-the-art health centers, including the Dorothy Hecht Health Center Los Angeles named after her mother, and the Stoller-Filer Health Center in Compton.
Hale serves on the national advisory board of NARAL, the national advisory board of Planned Parenthood and the California board of the Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project (WRRAP). In 2011 Hale was honored as the Champion of Choice by NARAL Pro-Choice America (National Abortion Rights Action League) for her lifelong advocacy for women’s reproductive rights.
She and her husband are strong advocates of the Southern Poverty Law Center, where they were recently honored in Montgomery, AL with the naming of the “Mike Stoller and Corky Hale Stoller Civil Rights Memorial Theatre”. They also serve on the board of the National Coalition to Ban Gun Violence.
Hale’s harp, piano and vocals can be heard on her five albums “CORKY!” , “Have Yourself A Jazzy Little Christmas – Corky Hale”, “Corky Hale Plays George Gershwin & Vernon Duke”, “Corky Hale – Harp Beat” , “Corky Hale and Friends…I’m Glad There Is You.” To learn more, please visit www.corkyhale.com.