BiographyOakland, California, USA
Jean Forward was born in Oakland, California, the eldest child of Walter Levi Forward and Harriet (Gould) Forward. Jean graduated from Oakland High School. By 1939, at age 18, items about her appearances in various musical productions began appearing in the Oakland Tribune. For example, on March 6, 1939, Jean appeared in the Players Auditorium in San Francisco in a production of Gilbert and Sullivan's "Patience" - alternating in the lead with two other singers. An April 28, 1939 item listed her as a "young lyric soprano". Read more... that evening to open the Oakland Forum's concert series. There is a photograph of Jean at the piano with Mr. Pinza. He would conclude his tour with an appearance with the San Francisco Opera Company. In September, 1942, now 21 and able to vote, Jean and her parents registered to vote in precinct 1738, Los Angeles County. On July 25, 1943, an item in the Long Beach (CA)announced a performance of Gounod's "Faust" at the Long Beach Auditorium. Jean Forward was listed as one of the five "outstanding resident singers" who were in the production along with David Laughlin and Jerome Hines. In a June 4,1995, interview with the Atlanta Journal Constitution (page C/2), Jean's daughter Sherryl Nelson told of how her mother and David Laughlin fell in love during the production. Because Jean's mother forbade her from seeing David, they declared their love as Faust and Marguerite on stage. They were married not long afterward. In an Internet posting in May, 2011, her son Robert David Laughlin noted that his parents sang with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and after the end of the Second World War, sang for the USO in the Philippines, Okinawa, and Japan.