- Star of stage,
screen, radio and vaudeville, Al Jolson billed
himself as The Worlds Greatest
Entertainer and who could argue?
- Working in blackface,
he sang songs about his southern Mammy with a
passion that endeared him to Broadway audiences.
His voice, a leathery blend of ringing brass and
amber warmth with a sob in it, was probably the
most imitated and parodied in the world.
- As a musical comedy
star, he belted out songs like Swanee and Is It True What They
Say About Dixie? with flair and vitality; and
always demanding applause for his songs and
jokes, he was rarely disappointed.
- Electric, dynamic energy and like a cyclone were some of
the terms used to describe his performances on
stage; and after singing for three hours with
incredible energy, he could still call out:
aint heard nothin yet.
Though kind and
sentimental, he left much to be desired as a
human being. His was an enormous ego. He could be
arrogant, surly and a braggart and many of his
contemporaries disliked him. But he was a giant
in the entertainment world, a hit maker, and
always last on the bill because no one could
- Though four times
married, the love of his life was an audience -
any audience. He needed applause the way a
diabetic needs insulin.
- Al Jolson did not
just sing songs - he rattled your backbone and
made you want to get up and dance. He was the greatest
entertainer the world has ever known.