‘She always had something that made me laugh’: Dorthaan Kirk remembers her friend Marlena Shaw
Marlena was not only a musician that was always there when I called on her, but she was a friend as well. Not all musicians that I know become friends. We'd talk on the phone from time to time, and we'd discuss our families, what was going on in our different parts of the world, what we were doing and all of the things friends speak about. We also stayed connected with Ernestine Anderson and Ernie Andrews, all of whom lived out in the West. She was VERY funny and always had something that made me laugh and I won't forget how loyal she was to her church.
We always exchanged Christmas cards but in 2023, I didn't receive one from her and now I know why. I remember once she was in New York City and I called her at the hotel and they couldn't locate her. This was before the day of cell phones. In any case, we finally connected and she was registered under the name “Hefner.” When I found out why she was registered under Marlena Hefner , I learned that she was married to Hugh Hefner's cousin. Of course, we "cracked up" at her response. I'll forever remember all the great events she performed for WBGO and the great times I had with her.