Nina & Frederik

Nina & Frederik were a popular singing duo of the early '60s specializing in easy listening and folk songs and portraying a Continental image of a relaxed and happy married couple. Frederik was born Frederik Jan Floris Baron van Pallandt in Copenhagen, Denmark, on May 4, 1932, while Nina (Nina Magdelena Møller-Hasselbalch) was also born in Copenhagen two months later on July 15. They married in 1960 and together formed a singing partnership that concentrated on harmony folk songs and easy listening material, in direct contrast to the hip rock & roll sounds that dominated the charts at the time. Their first chart success was a cover of the Harry Belafonte Christmas hit "Mary's Boy Child," which they took into the Top 30 at the end of 1959. They charted with two different albums, both entitled Nina & Frederik, and several singles, the biggest of which was at Christmas 1960 with their version of "Little Donkey," which hit number three -- but it was on the specialist EP charts of the early '60s that they really shone, spending nearly two years on the charts with their EP, also titled Nina & Frederik, one of several eponymous EPs that they hit with during 1960. Their final hit was the 1962 EP White Christmas, a four-track EP that featured the songs "Away in a Manger," "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," "Silent Night," and of course the famous title track. Nina van Pallandt became famous early in the 1970s as the lover of Clifford Irving, who was jailed for fraud after his biography of Howard Hughes, allegedly written with Hughes' cooperation, proved to be a fake when Hughes himself came out of seclusion to repudiate the work. Nina van Pallandt actually aided the prosecution case by admitting he was with her in Mexico at the time he was allegedly interviewing Hughes for the book. Nina & Frederik divorced in 1975 and she went on to appear in several movies, including The Long Goodbye, A Wedding, Quintet, and Stiggs. Frederik married María Jesus de los Rios y Coello and allegedly became involved with a drug trafficking gang, and both he and his wife were shot dead in the Philippines aboard his yacht on May 15, 1994. ~ Sharon Mawer

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