Jolson, Al

Jolson, Al

biographical name

(born May 26, 1886, Srednike, Russia—died Oct. 23, 1950, San Francisco, Calif., U.S.) Russian-born U.S. singer, songwriter, and blackface comedian. Jolson's family arrived in the U.S. in 1893 and settled in Washington, D.C., where Jolson made his first stage appearance in 1899, performing in vaudeville before joining a minstrel troupe (see minstrel show) in 1909. In New York City he was featured in musicals such as La Belle Paree (1911), Honeymoon Express (1913), and Big Boy (1925). In Sinbad (1918) he transformed the unsuccessful George Gershwin song “Swanee” into his trademark number. In Bombo (1921) he introduced “My Mammy,” “Toot, Toot, Tootsie,” and “California, Here I Come.” In 1927 he starred in The Jazz Singer, the first feature film with synchronized speech as well as music and sound effects. His later films include The Singing Fool (1928), Mammy (1930), and Swanee River (1940).

Variants of JOLSON, AL

Jolson, Al orig. Asa Yoelson

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