Bobby Short Poster


Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (2) | Trivia (10) | Personal Quotes (3)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 15 September 1924Danville, Illinois, USA
Date of Death 21 March 2005Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA  (leukemia)
Birth NameRobert Waltrip Short

Mini Bio (2)

Bobby Short has been an attraction at Manhattan's Cafe Carlyle for three decades (he doubtless got his greatest exposure there in a scene from Woody Allen's film Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)). Short is the quintessential New Yorker, the Fred Astaire of saloon singers, an international icon of style and glamour.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: anonymous

A Newsweek review once stated, "He is an easily acquired taste -- like champagne and caviar". And, so he was. The hallmark of cabaret sophistication and intimate entertainment, husky-toned Bobby Short was one of a kind. Deemed a child prodigy, he started singing and playing the piano in the mid 30s at an early age in vaudeville houses, cocktail lounges and bars, promoted as a "miniature King of Swing". Born Robert Waltrip Short to a musical family on September 15, 1924, in Danville, Illinois, he was the ninth of ten children. Playing piano by ear at age 4, he was singing Duke Ellington standards at upper-class parties by age 9. Discovered quickly by talent agents, he was ushered out to perform decked out in little white tails à la Cab Calloway. Bobby moved to New York in 1937 (age 13) and became a nightclub sensation at such hot spots as the Apollo Theatre despite being criticized for catering to white audiences. He returned to Danville, however, to finish his education, but started performing again following high school graduation. Avoiding the boogie-woogie rage, he polished up his chic repertoire of Ellington, Noel Coward, Cole Porter, Rodgers and Hart, and George and Ira Gershwin during the war years. He finally earned his big break in 1948 with a three-year stint at the Cafe Gala on L.A.'s Sunset Strip, which he considered his 'saloon' years. The grand master interpretor of the "Great American Song" grew to legendary status equipped with a smooth charm, breezy elegance, infectious good cheer and unrestrained joie de vivre. Bobby recorded more than a dozen albums and received three Grammy nominations in his life time, including one for his "Late Night at the Cafe Carlyle", the hotel where he reigned supreme for more than three decades (from 1968). On camera, he was discovered singing in a long-running TV commercial for Revlon's Charlie perfume and appeared in guest cameos in a handful of films, including a sequence set at the Cafe Carlyle in Woody Allen's Hannah and Her Sisters (1986). In 2000, the Library of Congress designated Bobby a "Living Legend", a recognition established as part of its bicentennial celebration. Upon his death of leukemia at age 80 in New York's Presbyterian Hospital, America lost one of its "last bastions of nighttime society". Never married, he was survived by his adopted son, Ronald Bell, and his brother, Reginald Short. Bobby couldn't retire and performed practically up to the end, once emphatically asking, "If I don't work, what do I do?".

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Trivia (10)

Born at 10:30pm-CDT
Considered his favorite songwriters to be Duke Ellington, Harold Arlen and Jerome Kern.
He was instrumental in spearheading the construction of the Ellington Memorial in his beloved New York City.
Close friends included the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Gloria Vanderbilt, Jacqueline Kennedy, Henry Fonda, Jack Lemmon, Merv Griffin and Stephen Sondheim.
Performed at the White House for decades, entertaining the Nixon, Carter, Reagan and Clinton administrations.
Wrote two memoirs, "Black and White Baby" (1971) and "Bobby Short: The Life and Times of a Saloon Singer" (1995).
Born 9th of 10 children
In the 1950s, Cole Porter heard Short play his work, and - although badly crippled - made his way across the room at the Carlyle to thank him personally. On the 100th anniversary of Porter's birth, the family presented Short with their 'You're the Top Award' for his outstanding contributions to the composer's legend.
Touring in vaudeville from the age of 12 he was billed as the 'miniature king of swing'. As an adult he described himself as a saloon pianist.
Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume 7, 2003-2005, pages 511-513. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2007.

Personal Quotes (3)

A young man told me, 'How dare you insult your race by not singing the blues?' I still get feedback about that. I'm a 76-year-old black man living in a white society; I've gone through the medley. I'd like to think my legacy included having done something positive to help eliminate the problems between races. I never let racism into the core of me.
I was a black performer seated at the piano singing songs from Broadway shows. There were no dos and don'ts. I had the freedom to be myself.
I go back to what I heard Marian Anderson say once: 'First a song has to be beautiful.' However 'beautiful' covers a wide range of things. I have to admire a song's structure and what it's about. But I also have to determine how I can transfer my affection for a song to an audience. I have to decide whether I can put it across.

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