JOLSON, AL

JOLSON, AL (Asa Yoelson; 1886–1950), U.S. singer, vaudeville and film star. Born in Srednik, Lithuania, the son of a cantor, Jolson worked for some years in circuses, minstrel shows, and vaudeville houses in the U.S. In 1911 he was an instant success in his first Broadway appearance, La Belle Paree. Then came a long succession of starring roles in musicals, including Vera Violetta (1911); The Whirl of Society (1912); The Honeymoon Express (1913); Sinbad (1918), which had a two-year run; Bombo (1921), at Jolson's 59th Street Theater (named in his honor by the Shuberts); Big Boy (1925); Ziegfeld Follies (1927); and Wonder Bar (1931). Known in show business as "the world's greatest entertainer," Jolson had a dynamic personality. He received unparalleled rave reviews; and his adoring fans would explode with enthusiasm when he came on stage, often holding up the progress of the show with their unbridled cheers and applause. In 1927 Jolson made screen history in The Jazz Singer, the first full-length talking film made in America. This was followed   by The Singing Fool. Jolson's hearty, exuberant style was particularly well suited to early "talkie" technique. His other films, mainly musicals, included Say It with Songs (1929), Mammy (1930), Big Boy (1930), Hallelujah I'm a Bum (1933), Wonder Bar (1934), Go into Your Dance (1935), The Singing Kid (1936), Rose of Washington Square (1939), and Swanee River (1939). Some of the songs that Jolson is credited to have co-written are "California, Here I Come," "Me and My Shadow," and "Sonny Boy." The film The Jolson Story (1946) was based on his career and starred Larry Parks in the title role, using Jolson's dubbed voice. It was such a success that a second film followed three years later, entitled Jolson Sings Again (1949). To date, it is the only biography sequel in film history. In 1948, Jolson was voted Most Popular Male Vocalist by a Variety poll, superseding such top singing stars of the time as Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and Perry Como. Jolson died shortly after returning from Korea, where he had gone to entertain the UN troops. He was awarded the Medal of Merit posthumously. His will divided more than $4,000,000 equally among Jewish, Protestant, and Catholic charities and established scholarships for undergraduates. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: P. Sieben, The Immortal Jolson, His Life and Times (1963). ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: H. Goldman, Jolson: The Legend Comes to Life (1988); D. McLelland, Blackface to Blacklist (1987); R. Oberfirst, Al Jolson: You Ain't Heard Nothin' Yet (1982); B. Anderton, Sonny Boy: The World of Al Jolson (1975); M. Freedland, Jolson (1973). (Jo Ranson / Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • Jolson — redirects here. For Al Jolson, see Al Jolson. .Based on the life of legendary Al Jolson, it spans thirty years in the career of one of America s most popular entertainers. Out of the limelight, and the plot emphasizes his personal faults as much… …   Wikipedia

  • Jolson — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Al Jolson (eigentlich Asa Yoelson; † 1950), US amerikanischer Sänger und Entertainer Alfred James Jolson SJ (1928–1994), römisch katholischer Bischof von Reykjavik Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsk …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jolson, Al — orig. Asa Yoelson 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 …   Universalium

  • Jolson, Al — (1886 1950)    Born Asa Yoelson in Szredzius, Lithuania, the singer comedian was brought to Washington, D.C., as a child by his cantor father. Although his career belonged to the minstrel, musical, and vaudeville stages, as well as motion… …   The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater

  • Jolson, Al — orig. Asa Yoelson (26 may. 1886, Srednike, Rusia–23 oct. 1950, San Francisco, Cal., EE.UU.). Cantante, letrista y comediante estadounidense de origen ruso. La familia de Jolson llegó a EE.UU. en 1893 y se estableció en Washington, D.C., donde en… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Jolson — noun United States singer (born in Russia) who appeared in the first full length talking film (1886 1950) • Syn: ↑Al Jolson, ↑Asa Yoelson • Instance Hypernyms: ↑singer, ↑vocalist, ↑vocalizer, ↑vocaliser, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • Jolson,Al — Jol·son (jōlʹsən), Al. Originally Asa Yoelson. 1886 1950. American entertainer who starred in The Jazz Singer (1927), the first major film with synchronized sound. * * * …   Universalium

  • Jolson — /johl seuhn/, n. Al (Asa Yoelson), 1886 1950, U.S. singer and entertainer, born in Russia. * * * …   Universalium

  • Jolson — Jol|son, Al (1886 1950) a white US singer who wore black ↑make up to look like a black person, and sang songs associated with black people. He is famous for his emotional performances, and for appearing in the first film with sound, The Jazz… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Jolson, Al — pseud. di Yoelson, Asa …   Sinonimi e Contrari. Terza edizione

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