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Overview (3)

Date of Birth 16 September 1903
Date of Death 14 August 1978Seattle, Washington, USA
Birth NameGiuseppe Venuti

Mini Bio (1)

Joe Venuti was born on September 16, 1903 as Giuseppe Venuti. He was an actor, known for Sweet and Lowdown (1999), Mafia II (2010) and Sarge Goes to College (1947). He died on August 14, 1978 in Seattle, Washington, USA.

Trivia (9)

Inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame in 2000.
He was a famous jazz violinist.
His theme song was "Last Night".
Was seriously injured during a mugging in 1976, but recovered.
Was affiliated in the 1920's with Roger Wolfe Kahn, Paul Whiteman and Red Nichols. He also directed the Book-Cadillac Hotel Orchestra for Jean Goldkette (1924) and worked as a free-lance and session player in New York before starting his first band in 1934.
Toured Europe in 1937 (with Teddy Hill's band), 1952 (with Bill Coleman's Swing Stars), 1959 and 1961 (with Buck Clayton's All-Stars), 1965 (solo) and 1978 (with Earle Warren and Claude Hopkins).
Venuti and his friend Eddie Lang bought two instruments at a pawn shop in Philadelphia, and, according to legend, flipped a coin to decide who would play which instrument. Lang got the guitar, Venuti the violin -- the rest is history.
Was afflicted by alcoholism by the 1960's.
Was renowned for his clowning during performances, but was also reputed to be volatile and intolerant of criticism from both audiences and other musicians. His practical jokes were legendary. On one occasion he put an inebriated Bix Beiderbecke into a bath of purple Jell-O, on another he emptied a bag of flour into the bell of a tuba, as it turned out to the detriment of a musician in Paul Whiteman's band.

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