She developed an early interest in dance, but after an auto accident damaged her legs she began taking singing lessons and started to perform locally.
She went to the same Cincinnati ballroom dance studio as a child as Vera-Ellen. Their parents used to carpool together to the dance studio.
She toured with Les Brown and His Band of Renown and briefly with Bob Hope.
As a recording artist, she would require anyone who said a swear word to put a quarter in a "swear jar." She also didn't allow her songs to be used in movies that contained swear words.
She is reference in the song "We Didn't Start the Fire" by Billy Joel, "Dig It" by The Beatles, "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee" from Grease, and "Wrap Her Up" by Elton John.
During her entertainment career, she appeared in thirty-nine films, recorded more than six-hundred-fifty songs, received an Academy Award nomination, won a Golden Globe and a Grammy Award, and, received the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement in motion pictures.