Family & Companions
An enormously popular singer and bandleader in the 1920s and 1930s, Rudy Vallee went on to have a successful acting career that continued long after his days as a crooner had passed. Vallee began his career as a clarinetist and saxophone player, instruments that would later influence his vocal style. After becoming a singing sensation and host of a popular radio show, Vallee starred in the 1929 film "The Vagabond Lover" in an attempt to cash in on his fame. He appeared in several musicals in the '30s and early '40s, usually playing thinly veiled versions of himself in films like "Sweet Music" or "Time Out for Rhythm" in 1941. Gradually, as his acting improved and his popular persona as a singer began to fade, he was given more challenging roles. He co-starred with Adolphe Menjou and Pat O'Brien in the comedy "Man Alive" in 1945, and had a supporting role in the classic romantic comedy "The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer." Vallee, who was especially adept at comedic roles, also performed on Broadway, reprising his stage role in the 1967 musical film "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying." He also appeared in the TV series "Batman," and played a supporting part in the 1968 Elvis Presley film "Live a Little, Love a Little." Vallee's music can be heard on the soundtrack of countless films, including "Bonnie and Clyde," the Coen Brothers' period thriller "Miller's Crossing," and the Oliver Stone biography "Nixon," with Anthony Hopkins.