67 Facts About Al Jolson


Al Jolson was born on Asa Yoelson; May 26, 1886 – October 23, 1950 and was a Lithuanian-American Jewish singer, comedian, actor, and vaudevillian.

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Al Jolson was one of the United States' most famous and highest-paid stars of the 1920s, and was self-billed as "The World's Greatest Entertainer.

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Al Jolson has been referred to by modern critics as "the king of blackface performers.

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Al Jolson died weeks after returning to the U S, partly owing to the physical exhaustion from the performance schedule.

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Al Jolson was born Asa Yoelson in the Jewish village of Srednike now known as Seredzius, near Kaunas in Lithuania, then part of the Russian Empire.

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Al Jolson did not know his date of birth, as birth records were not kept at that time in that region, and he gave his birth year as 1885.

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Al Jolson performed "Be My Baby Bumble Bee", and the producer agreed to keep him, but the show closed by the end of the year.

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Al Jolson avoided financial troubles by forming a vaudeville partnership with his brother Hirsch, a vaudeville performer known as Harry Yoelson.

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Al Jolson became a regular at the Globe and Wigwam Theater in San Francisco and was successful nationwide as a vaudeville singer.

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Al Jolson took up residence in San Francisco, saying the earthquake-devastated people needed someone to cheer them up.

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In 1908, Al Jolson, needing money for himself and his new wife, Henrietta, returned to New York.

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On March 20, 1911, Al Jolson starred in his first musical revue at the Winter Garden Theater in New York City.

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Al Jolson reprised his role as "Gus" in future plays and by 1914 achieved so much popularity with theater audiences that his $1, 000-a-week salary was doubled.

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At the age of 35, Al Jolson was the youngest man in American history to have a theatre named after him.

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Al Jolson took 37 curtain calls that night and told the audience, "I'm a happy man tonight.

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Al Jolson is the old-time minstrel man turned to modern account.

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Al Jolson told Jessel that he would have to sing in the movie, and Jessel balked, allowing Warner to replace him with Jolson.

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Al Jolson was planning to be at the performance but died suddenly at the age of 40, the day before.

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Al Jolson's "Wait a minute" line provoked shouts of pleasure and applause from the audience, who were dumbfounded by seeing and hearing someone speak on a film for the first time.

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Excitement mounted as the film progressed, and when Al Jolson began his scene with Eugenie Besserer, "the audience became hysterical.

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The tumultuous ovation at curtain proved that Al Jolson was not merely the right man for the part of Jackie Rabinowitz, alias Jack Robin; he was the right man for the entire transition from silent fantasy to talking realism.

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Al Jolson made his first "all-talking" picture, The Singing Fool, the story of an ambitious entertainer who insisted on going on with the show even as his small son lay dying.

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Al Jolson's first Technicolor appearance was a cameo in the musical Showgirl in Hollywood from First National Pictures, a Warner Bros.

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However, these films gradually proved a cycle of diminishing returns due to their comparative sameness, the regal salary that Al Jolson demanded, and a shift in public taste away from vaudeville musicals as the 1930s began.

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Al Jolson returned to Broadway and starred in the unsuccessful Wonder Bar.

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Harburg and Harold Arlen titled "I Love to Singa", and a comedy sequence with Al Jolson doggedly trying to sing "Mammy" while The Yacht Club Boys keep telling him such songs are outdated.

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I'd heard Al Jolson was doing a new film on the Coast, and since Duke Ellington and his band had done a film, wasn't it possible for me and the band to do this one with Jolson.

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Al Jolson was trying to change my style and I was fighting it.

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Finally, Al Jolson stepped in and said to Arlen, 'Look, Cab knows what he wants to do; let him do it his way.

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Reviewers wrote, "Mr Al Jolson's singing of Mammy, California, Here I Come and others is something for the memory book" and "Of the three co-stars this is Al Jolson's picture.

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Al Jolson has a revelation, that the staid repertoire of the minstrel troupe can be transformed by actually playing black music in blackface.

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Al Jolson tells Dockstader that he wants to sing what he has just experienced: 'I heard some music tonight, something they call jazz.

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Al Jolson's success is built on anticipating what Americans really want.

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Al Jolson had been a popular guest star on radio since its earliest days, including on NBC's The Dodge Victory Hour, singing from a New Orleans hotel to an audience of 35 million via 47 radio stations.

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The next year, Al Jolson was named "Personality of the Year" by the Variety Clubs of America.

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Al Jolson joked about how his voice had deepened with age, saying "I got the clippetys all right, but I can't clop like I used to.

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Al Jolson purchased the rights to a play he saw on Broadway and then sold the movie rights to Jack Warner with the stipulation that two of the original cast members reprise their roles in the movie.

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Al Jolson finally relented in 1950, when it was announced that Jolson had signed an agreement to appear on the CBS television network, presumably in a series of specials.

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Al Jolson requested permission to go anywhere in the world where there was an American serviceman who wouldn't mind listening to 'Sonny Boy' or 'Mammy'.

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Al Jolson did as many as four shows a day in the jungle outposts of Central America and covered the string of U S Naval bases.

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Al Jolson paid for part of the transportation out of his own pocket.

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Al Jolson [Jolson] has been to more Army camps and played to more soldiers than any other entertainer.

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Al Jolson has crossed the Atlantic by plane to take song and cheer to the troops in Britain and Northern Ireland.

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Al Jolson has flown to the cold wastes of Alaska and the steaming forests of Trinidad.

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Al Jolson was officially enlisted in the United Service Organizations, the organization which provided entertainment for American troops who served in combat overseas.

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Al Jolson went down on his knee again and sang 'Mammy', and the troops wept and cheered.

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Three weeks later, Jolson saw a production of George M Cohan's Rise of Rosie O'Reilly, and noticed she was in the show's cast.

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Now knowing she was going about her Broadway career, Al Jolson attended another one of her shows, Show Girl, and rose from the audience and engaged in her duet of "Liza".

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Al Jolson accepted Ziegfeld's offer and during their tour with Ziegfeld, the two started dating and were married on September 21, 1928.

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Al Jolson became fascinated with her and more than a year later he was able to track her down and hired her as an actress while he served as a producer at Columbia Pictures.

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Al Jolson was the first to entertain troops in World War Two, contracted malaria and lost a lung.

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Al Jolson was interred in the Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California.

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Al Jolson's widow purchased a plot at Hillside and commissioned his mausoleum to be designed by well-known black architect Paul Williams.

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The six-pillar marble structure is topped by a dome, next to a three-quarter-size bronze statue of Al Jolson, eternally resting on one knee, arms outstretched, apparently ready to break into another verse of "Mammy".

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Al Jolson's death unleashed tributes from all over the world, including a number of eulogies from friends, including George Jessel, Walter Winchell, and Eddie Cantor.

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Al Jolson contributed millions to Jewish and other charities in his will.

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Al Jolson has three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to radio, motion pictures, and the recording industry.

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Al Jolson is a member of the American Theater Hall of Fame.

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Al Jolson opened the ears of white audiences to the existence of musical forms alien to their previous understanding and experience.

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Al Jolson'storians have described Jolson's blackface and singing style as metaphors for Jewish and black suffering throughout history.

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Al Jolson first heard jazz, blues, and ragtime in the alleys of New Orleans.

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Al Jolson enjoyed singing jazz, often performing in blackface, especially in the songs he made popular such as "Swanee", "My Mammy", and "Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody".

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Al Jolson brought a black dance team from San Francisco that he tried to put in a Broadway show.

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Al Jolson demanded equal treatment for Cab Calloway, with whom he performed duets in the movie The Singing Kid.

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Al Jolson read in the newspaper that songwriters Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle, neither of whom he had ever heard of, were refused service at a Connecticut restaurant because of their race.

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British performer Brian Conley, former star of the 1995 British play Al Jolson, stated during an interview, "I found out Al Jolson was actually a hero to the black people of America.

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Wilson felt that Al Jolson "should be considered the stylistic [forefather] of rock and roll.

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