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Jimmy Durante Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (2) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (18) | Personal Quotes (9)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 10 February 1893New York City, New York, USA
Date of Death 29 January 1980Santa Monica, California, USA  (pneumonia)
Birth NameJames Francis Durante
Nickname The Schnoz
Height 5' 7" (1.7 m)

Mini Bio (2)

First wife Jeanne died in 1943. Wed second wife, Marjorie Little after 16 year courtship when she was 39 and he 67 Marjorie Little had been the hatcheck girl at the Copacabana. Durante and his second wife adopted a baby girl, Cecelia Alicia on Christmas day 1961. Durante doted on "CeCe" until his death.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Comedian, composer, actor, singer and songwriter ("Inka Dinka Doo") Jimmy Durante was educated in New York public schools. He began his career as a Coney Island pianist, and organized a five-piece band in 1916. He opened the Club Durant with Eddie Jackson and Lou Clayton, with whom he later formed a comedy trio for vaudeville and on television. He appeared in the Broadway musicals "Show Girl", "The New Yorkers", "Strike Me Pink", "Jumbo", "Red Hot and Blue", and "Stars in Your Eyes". By 1936, he had appeared at the Palladium in London. Later he had his own radio and television shows, and was a featured headliner in night clubs. Biographer Gene Fowler wrote his biography, "Schnozzola". Joining ASCAP in 1941, he collaborated musically with Jackie Barnett and Ben Ryan, and his other popular song compositions include "I'm Jimmy That Well-Dressed Man", "I Know Darn Well I Can Do Without Broadway", "I Ups to Him and He Ups to Me", "Daddy Your Mamma Is Lonesome For You", "Umbriago", "Any State In the Forty-Eight", "Chidabee Chidabee Chidabee", and "I'm Jimmy's Girl".

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Hup234!

Spouse (2)

Margie Little (14 December 1960 - 29 January 1980) (his death) (1 child)
Jeanne Olsen (19 June 1921 - 14 February 1943) (her death)

Trade Mark (1)

Rumpled hat, patter songs ("Inka Dinka Doo") and, of course, his huge proboscis.

Trivia (18)

Interred at Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California, USA. Specific Interment Location: F, T96, 6.
Daughter Cecilia is a horseback-riding instructor, is married to a computer designer, lives near San Diego, and has two sons and a daughter.
For years, he signed off his radio and television shows with "Goodnight Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are", but he would never divulge who she was. Some speculated it was a "code name" for a current or former lover, some doubted she ever existed. It was not until after his death in 1980 that it was revealed she was, indeed, a real person.
According to the book, "Hollywood Trivia", (Greenwich House, 1984), by David P. Strauss, Jimmy Durante's famous "Mrs. Calabash" sign-off referred to his first wife, Jeanne Olson. Calabash was the name of a Chicago suburb they both liked. However, there is no known Chicago suburb named Calabash.
Comic Sonny King, who worked with Durante during his career, stated in an interview that the mysterious "Mrs. Calabash" was indeed Jimmy's late wife Jeanne Olson, but "Calabash" was a reference to Calabasas, California, where she was hospitalized in her later years. She had difficulty in pronouncing the city name, often calling it "Calabash", and it became an inside joke for the Durantes.
Dropped out of school in the eighth grade and a couple of years later played ragtime piano for a living, taking jobs wherever he could, including bars, cabarets and whorehouses. He became known for a time as "Ragtime Jimmy".
Also made a living as a bandleader and talent booker.
Famous for a number of other beloved catchphrases besides the "Mrs. Calabash" routine, including: "It's a castastrostroke!", "I'm mortified!", "Surrounded by assassins!", "Everybody wants ta get inta da act!" and "Hotch-cha-cha-cha-cha!".
Sang the famous song "Frosty the Snowman".
Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith. Pg. 146-148. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387
A legal challenge to his adoption of daughter CeCe late in life, on the grounds that he was too old to care for such a young child, was dismissed by a judge, who said, "I've heard this man sing 'Young at Heart.'".
His voice was the inspiration for that of the dog in the Tom and Jerry cartoons.
Has a street named after him on the east side of Las Vegas, Nevada.
He was awarded 2 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Motion Pictures at 1606 Vine Street; and for Radio at 1648 Vine Street in Hollywood, California.
In Blondie of the Follies (1932), in which he had a starring role, Marion Davies--playing Blondie--addresses Billie Dove's character as "Lurlene Calabash". Durante often ended his television, radio and nightclub appearances with "Goodnight Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are".
On August 15, 1958, for his charitable acts, Durante was awarded a huge three foot high brass loving cup by the Al Bahr Shriners Temple. The inscription was, "Jimmy Durant, the World's Most Famous Comedian. A loving cup to you, Jimmy. It's larger than your nose, but smaller than your heart. Happiness always, Al Bahr Temple, August 15, 1958".
Is mentioned by name in the lyrics of the Ralph Freed/Burton Lane song "How About You?" (from Babes on Broadway (1941)) .
Interviewed in "The Great Comedians Talk About Comedy" by Larry Wilde (1968).

Personal Quotes (9)

[on his funny looks as a child] I'd go home [from school] and cry. I made up my mind never to hurt anybody else, no matter what. I never made jokes about anybody's big ears, crossed eyes, or their stuttering.
[ad-libbing with Bob Hope] When it comes to noses, you're a retailer. I'm a wholesaler!
I hate music, especially when it's played.
Goodnight, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.
I like to make people laugh. Dey like me. What more could I want?
My wife has a slight impediment in her speech. Every now and then she stops to breathe.
Politics is developing more comedians than radio ever did.
Be awful nice to 'em goin' up, because you're gonna meet 'em all comin' down.
Why can't everybody leave everybody else the hell alone?

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