Asa “Al Jolson” Yoelson was born to Jewish immigrants Moshe Ruben Yoelson, and Naomi Etta Cantor. He died in San Francisco on October 23, 1950. He was an American singer. He was one the most well-known entertainers in the first half century. Early life and career. Born to the Rabbi of Talmud Torah Synagogue, now Ohev Sholom Talmud Torah, Jolson was a well-known singer in New York City. He developed the essential elements of his performance over time: exuberant gestures, blackface, operatic singing, whistling, and direct addressing of his audience. He was a star in La Belle Paree by 1911. He started recording and became well-known for his stage presence and rapport with the audience. His Broadway career spans close to 30 years (1911-1940), and is unparalleled in its popularity and length. The power of Jolson’s presence was so powerful that audiences yelled, begged, and refused to let the show go ahead. One performance in Boston saw the usual conservative and staid audience stop the show after 45 minutes. According to some, he had an “electric” personality and was able to convince the audience that he was only singing to them. He is most well-known for his role in The Jazz Singer (1927), the first feature film to use sound and enjoy commercial success. Jolson sang “Mammy” in blackface in The Jazz Singer. Jolson’s singing style was not jazz. In fact, it was not jazz at all. Jolson was the first artist to sell more than 10 million records. Jolson was the first artist to sell more than 10 million records. However, there was no official Billboard magazine charts during his career. Joel Whitburn, their staff archiver, used various sources like Talking Machine World’s top-selling recordings and Billboard’s sheet music and vaudeville charts in order to estimate the hits between 1890-1954. Jolson was the equivalent to 23 No. Jolson had the equivalent of 23 No. 1 hits, which was fourth-highest ever, behind only Bing Crosby and Paul Whiteman. Whitburn estimates that Jolson was on top of one chart for 114 consecutive weeks. Jolson’s many hits included “You Made Me Love You,” Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody,” and “Swanee”, which was George Gershwin’s first success. Jolson was an economic and political conservative. He supported Calvin Coolidge as president of the United States. (with the song “Keep Cool with Coolidge”), unlike other Jews who supported John William Davis, the losing Democratic candidate. From 1928 to 1940 Jolson was married with Ruby Keeler, a dancer and actress. They later divorced. Al Jolson Jr. was adopted by the couple during their marriage. However, when he turned 14, the boy changed his name from Al Jolson to Peter Lowe, after John Lowe, his second husband. Jolson was a radio star after he left the Broadway stage. These shows were rated among the top ten in ratings. They aired The Al Jolson Show from 1933-1939, 1942-1943 and 1947-1949. Jolson performed until his death in 1950. The Jolson story: Sidney Skolsky, a Hollywood columnist, believed that Al Jolson could be made a similar film after the success of Warner Bros.’ Yankee Doodle Dandy about George M. Cohan. He knew exactly where to pitch it. Although Harry Cohn was viewed by many in Hollywood as a vulgar, loud, and crude person, he still loved the music of Al Jolson. Skolsky suggested the idea for a Al Jolson biopic, and Cohn accepted it. Alfred E. Green, best known for Baby Face, a pre-Code musical masterpiece, directed The Jolson Story. It is one of the most entertaining musical biopics from that era, which also included Words and Music, Yankee Doodle Dandy and Three Little Words. The Jolson Story, which featured almost all of the vocals and Larry Parks as Jolson, was released in 1946 and quickly became one of the most popular films of the year. Parks was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Actor and the film went on to become one of the most successful films of the year. The Jolson Story and its 1949 sequel, “Jolson Sings Again,” captivated a new generation with Jolson’s charisma and voice. Jolson was a radio guest star since the beginning of radio. He now hosted his own show, “Kraft Music Hall”, from 1947-1949. Oscar Levant served as a sidekick and a sardonic pianist. A Variety poll in 1948 voted Jolson the “Most Popular Male Voice” despite Perry Como, Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby still being in their primes. The Variety Clubs of America named Jolson Personality of Year the following year. Jolson was a guest on Bing Crosby’s radio show and he explained that he received the award because he was the only singer to not have Mule Train recorded. Four versions of the song, including one by Crosby had reached the top ten. Jolson laughed that he had tried to sing the hit song. “I can’t clop as well as I used to, but I got the clippetys right.” Many consider Jolson’s legacy to be seriously neglected because of his use stage blackface. This was a theatrical convention that was used at the time by many performers, both black and white. However, many today view him as being racially insensitive. Jolson was called “The World’s Greatest Entertainer”, which is the title that many great stars, including Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland (Judy Garland), Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart and Jackie Wilson, used to refer to him. In his Autobiography, Charles Chaplin stated that Jolson was the most captivating entertainer he had ever seen. He had a lifelong passion for entertaining American servicemen. As a boy, he sang for the Spanish-American War servicemen in Washington, D.C., and he returned to the United States to entertain them in Korea in 1950, when his heart stopped beating. Death Jolson, 64, died in San Francisco on October 23 1950 at a card table. He was apparently suffering from a heart attack. A statue of Jolson welcomes visitors to his graveyard at Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery, Culver City. Broadway shut down its lights for ten minutes on the day of his death in Jolson’s honor. Three stars are given to Al Jolson by the Hollywood Walk of Fame: 1. His contribution to the motion-picture industry at 6622 Hollywood Blvd. ; 2. His contribution to the recording industry at 1716 Vine St. His contribution to the radio industry at 6750 Hollywood Boulevard. The United States Postal Service issued a stamp in Jolson’s honor forty-four years later. Jolson’s fourth spouse, Erle Jolson Krasna unveiled the 29-cent stamp at a ceremony at New York City’s Lincoln Center, September 1, 1994. This stamp was part of a series that honored American singers such as Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby. Al Jolson (from The Simpsons), is one of Mr. Burns’ favorite actors. He still believes that he’s alive. Jolson’s song I’m Sitting On Top of the World was featured during the opening scene of 1930’s New York City, in the 2005 remake of King Kong. Al Jolson was honored with a street in New York being named after him in August 2006. Text contributed by users is available under Creative Commons By–SA License. It may also be available under GNU FDL.