Al Jolson facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Al Jolson
Background information
Birth name Asa Yoelson
Born (1886-05-26)May 26, 1886
Seredžius, Lithuania, Russian Empire
Died October 23, 1950(1950-10-23) (aged 64)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Genres Vaudeville
Pop standards
Jazz
Pop
Occupations Actor
Comedian
Singer
Years active 1911–1950
Labels Victor, Columbia, Little Wonder, Brunswick, Decca
Website The Al Jolson Society

Al Jolson (May 26, 1886 – October 23, 1950) was a Russian - American singer and actor. His career lasted from 1911 until his death in 1950. He was called "the world's greatest entertainer”.

His singing style was "sentimental [and] melodramatic". This style made many songs popular. Jolson influenced many famous singers. Some of these singers were Bing Crosby Judy Garland, rock and country entertainer Jerry Lee Lewis, and Bob Dylan. Dylan said Jolson was "somebody whose life I can feel".

Jolson was America's most famous and highest paid entertainer in the 1930s. Jolson sang and acted in the first (full length) talking movie, The Jazz Singer in 1927. He starred in many other musical movies in the 1930s. A movie about Jolson's life, The Jolson Story, won Oscars in 1946. Larry Parks played Jolson, but Jolson sang the songs himself. A sequel, Jolson Sings Again, was released in 1949, and was nominated for three Oscars. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Jolson became the first star to entertain troops overseas during World War II. Again in 1950 became the first star to perform for GIs in Korea. He did 42 shows in 16 days.

He sometimes performed in blackface makeup. This was a theatrical convention in the mid-19th century. With his unique and dynamic style of singing black music, like jazz and blues, he was later credited with single-handedly introducing African-American music to white audiences. As early as 1911 he became known for fighting against anti-black discrimination on Broadway. Jolson's well-known theatrics and his promotion of equality on Broadway helped pave the way for many black performers, playwrights, and songwriters, including Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, and Ethel Waters.

Filmography

  • Mammy's Boy (1923) (unfinished)
  • A Plantation Act (1926)
  • The Jazz Singer (1927)
  • The Singing Fool (1928)
  • Hollywood Snapshots No. 11 (1929) (short subject)
  • Sonny Boy (1929) (Cameo)
  • Say It with Songs (1929)
  • New York Nights (1929) (Cameo)
  • Mammy (1930)
  • Show Girl in Hollywood (1930) (Cameo)
  • Big Boy (1930)
  • Hallelujah, I'm a Bum (1933)
  • Wonder Bar (1934)
  • Go Into Your Dance (1935)
  • Paramount Headliner: Broadway Highlights No. 1 (1935) (short subject)
  • The Singing Kid (1936)
  • Hollywood Handicap (1938) (short subject)
  • Rose of Washington Square (1939)
  • Hollywood Cavalcade (1939)
  • Swanee River (1939)
  • Rhapsody in Blue (1945) (brief scene with Jolson in blackface introducing "Swanee")
  • The Jolson Story (1946) (double and singing voice for Larry Parks with brief onscreen appearance)
  • Screen Snapshots: Off the Air (1947) (short subject)
  • Jolson Sings Again (1949) (singing voice for Larry Parks)
  • Oh, You Beautiful Doll (1949) (voice only)
  • Screen Snapshots: Hollywood's Famous Feet (1950) (short subject) (narrator)
  • Memorial to Al Jolson, (1951) documentary – Columbia Pictures
  • The Great Al Jolson, (1955) documentary, Columbia Pictures

Theater

  • La Belle Paree (1911)
  • Vera Violetta (1911)
  • The Whirl of Society (1912)
  • The Honeymoon Express (1913)
  • Children of the Ghetto (before 1915)
  • Robinson Crusoe, Jr. (1916)
  • Sinbad (1918)
  • Bombo (1921)
  • Big Boy (1925)
  • Artists and Models of 1925 (1925) (added to cast in 1926)
  • Big Boy (1926) (revival)
  • The Wonder Bar (1931)
  • Hold on to Your Hats (1940)

Famous songs

  • That Haunting Melodie (1911) Jolson's first hit.
  • Ragging the Baby to Sleep (1912)
  • The Spaniard That Blighted My Life (1912)
  • That Little German Band (1913)
  • You Made Me Love You (1913)
  • Back to the Carolina You Love (1914)
  • Yaaka Hula Hickey Dula (1916)
  • I Sent My Wife to the Thousand Isles (1916)
  • I'm All Bound Round With the Mason Dixon Line (1918)
  • Rock-A-Bye Your Baby With A Dixie Melody (1918)
  • Tell That to the Marines (1919)
  • I'll Say She Does (1919)
  • I've Got My Captain Working for Me Now (1919)
  • Swanee (1919)
  • Avalon (1920)
  • O-H-I-O (O-My! O!) (1921)
  • April Showers (1921)
  • Angel Child (1922)
  • Coo Coo' (1922)
  • Oogie Oogie Wa Wa (1922)
  • That Wonderful Kid From Madrid (1922)
  • Toot, Toot, Tootsie (1922)
  • Juanita (1923)
MyBodyCoverJolson
1922 sheet music
  • California, Here I Come (1924)
  • I Wonder What's Become of Sally? (1924)
  • All Alone (1925)
  • I'm Sitting on Top of the World (1926)
  • When the Red, Red, Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin' Along (1926)
  • My Mammy (1927)
  • Back in Your Own Backyard (1928)
  • There's a Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder (1928)
  • Sonny Boy (1928)
  • Little Pal (1929)
  • Liza (All the Clouds'll Roll Away) (1929)
  • Let Me Sing and I'm Happy (1930)
  • The Cantor (A Chazend'l Ofn Shabbos) (1932)
  • You Are Too Beautiful (1933)
  • Ma Blushin' Rosie (1946)
  • Anniversary Song (1946)
  • Alexander's Ragtime Band (1947)
  • Carolina in the Morning (1947)
  • About a Quarter to Nine (1947)
  • Waiting for the Robert E. Lee (1947)
  • Golden Gate (1947)
  • When You Were Sweet Sixteen (1947)
  • If I Only Had a Match (1947)
  • After You've Gone (1949)
  • Is It True What They Say About Dixie? (1949)
  • Are You Lonesome Tonight? (1950)

Footnotes

Images for kids


Al Jolson Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.