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Jimmy Durante
Jimmy durante 1964.JPG
Durante as host of The Hollywood Palace, 1964.
James Francis Durante

(1893-02-10)February 10, 1893
Died January 29, 1980(1980-01-29) (aged 86)
Cause of death Pneumonia
Resting place Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California, U.S.
Nationality American
Other names The Schnoz
The Great Schnozzola,
Inka Dinka Doo
Alma mater Saint Malachy's Roman Catholic Church
Occupation Actor, comedian, singer, pianist, writer
Years active 1920–1972
Political party Democrat
Spouse(s) Jeanne Olsen (1921–1943; her death)
Margie Little (1960–1980; his death)
Children Adopted with Little:
Cecilia Alicia
Relatives 2 grandchildren
Jimmy Durante signature.svg

James Francis "Jimmy" Durante (February 10, 1893 – January 29, 1980) was an American singer, pianist, comedian, writer, and actor. His famous nickname was The Great Schnozzola (a reference to his big nose). He was also known for his deep raspy voice when he said "Ha-Cha-Cha-Chaaaaa!". He won an Emmy Award in 1952.

Early life

Durante was born on February 10, 1893 in Brooklyn, New York. His family were Italian Catholics. He studied at the Saint Malachy's Roman Catholic Church (also known as The Actors' Chapel).


Jimmy Durante graumans
Jimmy Durante's noseprint, handprint, and signature in front of the Grauman's Chinese Theatre

Durante started acting in movies in the 1930s. He worked in comedy series with silent movie legend Buster Keaton. He later appeared in The Wet Parade (1932), Broadway to Hollywood (1933), The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942, playing "Banjo", a character based on Harpo Marx), Ziegfeld Follies (1946), Billy Rose's Jumbo (1962, based on the 1935 musical) and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963).

On September 10, 1933, Durante appeared on Eddie Cantor's radio show, The Chase and Sanborn Hour. He worked on the show until November 12 of that year. When Cantor later left, Durante took over the show as its star from April 22 to September 30, 1934. He then moved on to The Jumbo Fire Chief Program (1935–36).

On August 4, 1955, The Jimmy Durante Show on NBC was the venue of the final role by the famous Brazilian singer Carmen Miranda. Miranda fell to her knees while dancing with Durante, who quickly told the band, "STOP--the music!" He helped Miranda up to her feet as she laughed, "I'm all out of breath!". He repled, "That's OK, honey, I'll take your lines." Miranda laughed again and quickly pulled herself together and finished the show. However, the next morning, August 5, Miranda died at home from another heart attack.


Durante was married to Jeanne Olsen from 1921 until her death in 1943 from heart disease. He was later married to Margie Little from 1960 until his own death in 1980. Little and Durante adopted one daughter, Cecilia Alicia.

Political views and health

Jimmy & Margaret Durante's grave
Jimmy Durante's grave with Margaret's grave

Durante was a member of the Democratic Party. He retired in 1972 after having many strokes which left him in a wheelchair.


Durante died on January 29, 1980 in his home in Santa Monica, California. He died from pneumonia, and was 86 years old. He is buried at the Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California.


  • Roadhouse Nights (1930) as Daffy
  • New Adventures of Get Rich Quick Wallingford (1931) as Schnozzle
  • The Christmas Party (1931) (short subject) as Santa Claus (uncredited)
  • The Cuban Love Song (1931) as O.O. Jones
  • Jackie Cooper's Birthday Party (1931) (short subject)
  • Hollywood on Parade: Down Memory Lane (1932) (short subject)
  • Hollywood on Parade (1932) (short subject)
  • The Passionate Plumber (1932) as Julius J. McCracken
  • The Wet Parade (1932) as Abe Shilling
  • Speak Easily (1932) as James
  • Blondie of the Follies (1932) as Jimmy
  • The Phantom President (1932) as Curly Cooney
  • Le plombier amoureux (1932) as Tony
  • Give a Man a Job (1933) (short subject)
  • What! No Beer? (1933) as Jimmy Potts
  • Hollywood on Parade No. 9 (1933) (short subject)
  • Hell Below (1933) as 'Ptomaine' - Ships Cook
  • Broadway to Hollywood (1933) as Himself - Hollywood Character
  • Meet the Baron (1933) as Joe McGoo - the Favorite 'Schnozzle' of the Screen
  • Palooka (1934) as Knobby Walsh
  • George White's Scandals (1934) as Happy McGillicuddy
  • Strictly Dynamite (1934) as Moxie
  • Hollywood Party (1934) as Durante / Schnarzan
  • Student Tour (1934) as Hank Merman - Trainer of the Crew
  • Carnival (1935) as Fingers
  • Land Without Music (1936) as Jonah J. Whistler
  • Start Cheering (1938) as Willie Gumbatz
  • Sally, Irene and Mary (1938) as Jefferson Twitchel
  • Little Miss Broadway (1938) as Jimmy Clayton
  • Melody Ranch (1940) as Cornelius J. Courtney
  • You're in the Army Now (1941) as Jeeper Smith
  • The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942) as Banjo
  • Two Girls and a Sailor (1944) as Billy Kipp
  • Music for Millions (1944) as Andrews
  • Ziegfeld Follies (1945) (scenes deleted)
  • Two Sisters from Boston (1946) as 'Spike'
  • It Happened in Brooklyn (1947) as Nick Lombardi
  • This Time for Keeps (1947) as Ferdi Farro
  • On an Island with You (1948) as Buckley
  • The Great Rupert (1950) as Mr. Louie Amendola
  • The Milkman (1950) as Breezy Albright
  • Screen Snapshots: Hollywood Premiere (1955) (short subject) as Himself
  • The Heart of Show Business (1957) (short subject) as Himself
  • Beau James (1957) as Himself (cameo, uncredited)
  • Pepe (1960) as Himself (cameo)
  • The Last Judgment (1961) as The man with the large nose
  • Billy Rose's Jumbo (1962) as Anthony 'Pop' Wonder
  • It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) as Smiler Grogan
  • Frosty the Snowman (1969) as Narrator (voice)

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