23 Facts About Gene Austin


Lemeul Eugene Lucas, better known by his stage name Gene Austin, was an American singer and songwriter, one of the early "crooners".


Gene Austin's recording of "My Blue Heaven" sold over 5 million copies and was for a while the largest selling record of all time.


Gene Austin took the name Gene Austin from his stepfather Jim Austin, a blacksmith.


Gene Austin attended a vaudeville act in Houston, Texas, where the audience was allowed to come to the stage and sing.


On returning to the United States in 1919, Gene Austin settled in Baltimore, Maryland, where he briefly studied dentistry and law.


Gene Austin started writing songs and formed a vaudeville act with Roy Bergere, with whom he wrote "How Come You Do Me Like You Do".


Gene Austin worked briefly in a club owned by Lou Clayton, who later was a part of the famous vaudeville team Clayton, Jackson and Durante.


Gene Austin was an influential early crooner whose records in their day enjoyed record sales and the highest circulation.


Gene Austin made a substantial number of influential recordings, including a string of best-sellers.


At the peak of his career, Gene Austin demanded that the pianist Fats Waller only could provide accompaniment on his records.


Gene Austin's first recording surreptitiously was providing the vocals for the Tennessee guitarist George Reneau, whose own voice did not record well.


In 1925, Gene Austin recorded his popular song "When My Sugar Walks Down the Street" for the Victor Talking Machine Company in a duet with Aileen Stanley.


Gene Austin formed a trio with bassist Johnny Candido and guitarist Otto Heimel.


Gene Austin stopped in Minden, Louisiana, and performed there in a popular tent show on the grounds of the local Coca-Cola plant owned by the Hunter family.


Such later crooners as Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Russ Columbo all credited Gene Austin with creating the musical genre that began their careers.


Gene Austin influenced his friend Jimmie Rodgers and as such contributed to the birth of country music.


Gene Austin married his first wife, Kathryn Arnold, a dancer, in 1924 and divorced her in 1929.


Gene Austin married his second wife, Agnes Antelline, in 1933, and their daughter Charlotte was born that same year.


Gene Austin then married actress Doris Sherrell in 1940, and divorced her in 1946.


Gene Austin married wife number four, LouCeil Hudson, a singer, in 1949, and the marriage lasted until 1966.


Gene Austin married Gigi Theodorea in 1967, his fifth and final marriage.


Gene Austin retired to Palm Springs, California in the late 1950s and was active in civic boards there until 1970.


Gene Austin died in Palm Springs of lung cancer and was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.