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Jimmy Durante

Jimmy Durante

D.O.B.: February 10, 1893 (New York, NY)

D.O.D.: January  29, 1980 (Santa Monica, CA)

Cause of Death: Heart Failure

Location: Holy Cross; Section F; Tier 96; #6

Biographical Notes:

He was greatly influenced by Scott Joplin and had his first success in show business as Ragtime piano player starting around 1911. He was billed as Ragtime Jimmy and played in New York City and Coney Island. In 1917, the New Orleans jazz swept New York by storm, and Jimmy formed a band. They billed themselves as Durante's Jazz and Novelty Band. 

In 1921, Durante collaborated with song writer Chris Smith on the song "Let's Agree To Disagree" which Mamie Smith recorded.

Durante went on to record with several jazz bands in the early 1920s including The Ladd's Black Aces, Original Memphis Five and Bailey's Lucky Seven. 

Jimmy was a jazz piano player, but soon gravitated towards vaudeville in the 1920s. By the end of the decade the team was very popular on Broadway and Durante got a role in a play called "Jumbo" which made him a star. 

When the 1930s started he started to get roles in movies, and became popular on radio and eventually became a very popular entertainer.  

Jimmy Durante was a famed comedian, singer, character actor and piano player. He was one of the most memorable characters of the Golden Age, was noted for his raspy voice and large "schnozzola"; he appeared in numerous movies in the 30's & 40's before moving on to host his own TV shows in the 50's. 

One of the last roles Jimmy did was as narrator of the seasonal cartoon "Frosty the Snowman." He claimed his success was due to "Dere's a million good lookin' guys, but I'm a novelty."

Appeared in:

"Frosty the Snowman" (1969) TV

"It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World" (1963)

 

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