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(born May 26, 1886, Srednike, Russiadied 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 (seeminstrel 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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