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Al Jolson

Al Jolson

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Recent DVDs

 
 

The Jazz Singer: Deluxe Edition... Don't miss this fully digitized 3-disc tribute to the movie that changed cinema... more info $39.98was $39.98 Buy Now

Hollywood Cavalcade DVD This 1939 bittersweet romance-comedy tells the story of a young performer's... more info $14.98was $14.98 Buy Now

Big Boy DVD With charisma, outsized singing and a fast horse, Al Jolson rides home a winner... more info $17.99was $17.99 Buy Now

Go Into Your Dance DVD Screen greats and off-screen married couple Al Jolson and Ruby Keeler go into... more info $17.99was $17.99 Buy Now

Say It With Songs DVD The movie is titled Say It with Songs, but the Warner brothers said it with... more info $17.99was $17.99 Buy Now

The Singing Fool DVD After the The Jazz Singer, movie fans and Hollywood honchos knew what they... more info $17.99was $17.99 Buy Now



Also Known As: Asa Yoelson Died: October 23, 1950
Born: May 26, 1886 Cause of Death: heart attack
Birth Place: Lithuania Profession: actor, singer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Celebrated song-and-dance man who was a major Broadway attraction before gaining worldwide fame as the star of the so-called "first" talking picture, "The Jazz Singer" (1927). Known as both "The World's Greatest Entertainer" and the biggest egomaniac in show business, Jolson got his start as a blackface singer in vaudeville around 1906. By the 1910s, he was starring in both book and variety shows on Broadway, including "The Honeymoon Express" (1913), "Robinson Crusoe Jr." (1916), "Sinbad" (1918) and "Bombo" (1921). His hammy, exuberant singing style and his obvious love of entertaining made him a huge star of both stage and recordings.Jolson made his first films in the mid-20s, a series of early talking shorts. But his immortality came with "The Jazz Singer", the first commercially viable, part-talking feature. Signed with Warner Bros., Jolson made a series of popular, sentimental musicals, including "The Singing Fool" (1928), "Sonny Boy" (1929), "Mammy" and "Big Boy" (both 1930) before his vogue began passing. He left for United Artists in 1933 for the bizarre (and commercially disastrous) Rodgers and Hart film "Hallelujah, I'm a Bum" before returning to Warners. There, he made a series of innocuous...

Celebrated song-and-dance man who was a major Broadway attraction before gaining worldwide fame as the star of the so-called "first" talking picture, "The Jazz Singer" (1927). Known as both "The World's Greatest Entertainer" and the biggest egomaniac in show business, Jolson got his start as a blackface singer in vaudeville around 1906. By the 1910s, he was starring in both book and variety shows on Broadway, including "The Honeymoon Express" (1913), "Robinson Crusoe Jr." (1916), "Sinbad" (1918) and "Bombo" (1921). His hammy, exuberant singing style and his obvious love of entertaining made him a huge star of both stage and recordings.

Jolson made his first films in the mid-20s, a series of early talking shorts. But his immortality came with "The Jazz Singer", the first commercially viable, part-talking feature. Signed with Warner Bros., Jolson made a series of popular, sentimental musicals, including "The Singing Fool" (1928), "Sonny Boy" (1929), "Mammy" and "Big Boy" (both 1930) before his vogue began passing. He left for United Artists in 1933 for the bizarre (and commercially disastrous) Rodgers and Hart film "Hallelujah, I'm a Bum" before returning to Warners. There, he made a series of innocuous musicals, the best of which was the first, "Wonder Bar" (1934).

Jolson's fame declined through "Go Into Your Dance" (1935, co-starring Ruby Keeler, his wife from 1928-39), "Rose of Washington Square" (1939) and "Rhapsody in Blue" (1944). He entertained the troops in both WWII and Korea, and had a resurgence of popularity when he provided Larry Parks' voice in "The Jolson Story" (1946) and "Jolson Sings Again" (1949). He had achieved the status of revered veteran when he died in 1950.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 American Lifestyles (1987) ("The Movie Marches On" - "Show Business: The War Years")
2.
 Rhapsody in Blue (1945) Himself
3.
 Swanee River (1940) E. P. Christy
4.
 Rose of Washington Square (1939) Ted Cotter
5.
 Hollywood Cavalcade (1939) Himself
6.
 The Singing Kid (1936) Al Jackson
7.
 Go into Your Dance (1935) Al Howard
8.
 Wonder Bar (1934) Al Wonder
9.
 Hallelujah I'm a Bum (1933) Bumper
10.
 Mammy (1930) Al Fuller
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1894:
Immigrated to USA; settled in Washington, DC
1906:
Made stage debut
1911:
New York stage debut, "La Belle Paree"
1925:
Film debut, a talking short for Warner Bros.
1927:
Made feature debut, "The Jazz Singer"
1933:
Left Warner Bros. for United Artists, made "Hallelujah I'm a Bum"
1934:
Re-signed with Warner Bros.
1949:
Made last film, playing himself in "Jolson Sings Again"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Henrietta Keller. Divorced in July 1919.
wife:
Alma Osborn. Actor. Married on August 18, 1922; divorced.
wife:
Ruby Keeler. Actor, dancer. Third wife; married on September 21, 1928; divorced on December 28, 1940; co-starred together in the feature film, "Go Into Your Dance" (1935).

Contributions

jazzsinger ( 2006-04-21 )

Source: al jolson society website (www.jolson.org)

fourth wife: Erle Galbraith,an X-ray technician from Hot Springs, Arkansas. Falling in love with this young girl while recuperating from illness following his visits to the troops in World War II. With Erle, they adopted a son, Asa Jr., and a daughter, Alicia. never devorced.

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