She began performing at age 4, but within a couple of years her mother thought she was acting "like a diva", and wouldn't let her take the stage again until she was 11. Her first marriage occurred at age 16, and for a time she was known as Carol Lutzhoff. She changed her last name to Richards in honor of a favorite nephew. She was married five times, marrying fifth husband Edward Sweidler in 1966 after moving to the Chicago area in the 1960s. Her third husband died and her other marriages ended in divorce.
At the start of her career in her early 20s, Carol Richards won a Bob Hope talent contest, moved to Hollywood and appeared on numerous TV shows including I Love Lucy, Name That Tune, The Saturday Night Review, and variety shows hosted by Ralph Edwards, Dennis Day, Pinky Lee, Edgar Bergen, and Ezio Pinza. For four years (1953–1957), she was a regular cast member on the Bob Crosby Show. She was the movie singing voice for Joan Caulfield in the film The Petty Girl, Vera Ellen in Call Me Madam, for Cyd Charisse in Silk Stockings, Brigadoon, Deep in My Heart, and It's Always Fair Weather, and for Betta St. John in The Robe. She worked frequently with Danny Kaye, Jerry Lewis, and Bob Hope, and sang with the Russ Morgan and Desi Arnaz Bands.
In the 1960s after moving to Chicago, Richards performed at numerous club dates, and appeared frequently on Don McNeill's famous radio show, The Breakfast Club. She gave up her career after marrying Edward Sweidler.
Following her performing career, Richards continued her work as an artist, completing numerous sculptures, pastels, and oil paintings as well as publishing a book Letters from the Cosmos with her husband.
Richards had 15 children, 19 grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. She died largely forgotten in Vero Beach, Florida, on March 16, 2007 of heart disease and kidney failure. She was survived by her husband of 40 years, Edward Swiedler...