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Al Jolson

American entertainer, actor, and singer

Al Jolson is ...


Born 26 May 1886 in Seredžius
Died 23 October 1950 in San Francisco
Age 64 years, 5 months
Cause myocardial infarction

Sex or gender male
Country of citizenship United States of America
Manner of death natural causes
Spouse Ruby Keeler
Occupation actor, film actor, singer, jazz musician, musician and stage actor
Genre vaudeville

About Al Jolson

Al Jolson was a true pioneer of American entertainment, a larger-than-life figure who helped shape the course of popular music and film in the early 20th century. Born Asa Yoelson on May 26, 1886, in Lithuania, Jolson emigrated to the United States with his family as a child and grew up in Washington, D.C. He began performing in vaudeville shows as a teenager, and quickly developed a reputation as a dynamic and charismatic singer and dancer.

Jolson's breakthrough came in 1911, when he starred in the Broadway musical "La Belle Paree." His electrifying rendition of the song "Ragtime Cowboy Joe" became an instant sensation, and Jolson soon became one of the most popular and highest-paid performers in the country. He went on to star in a string of hit musicals, including "Sinbad" and "Robinson Crusoe, Jr.," and became known for his trademark blackface makeup and flamboyant stage persona.

In the 1920s, Jolson became one of the first performers to embrace the new medium of sound film. He starred in the landmark movie "The Jazz Singer" in 1927, which featured him singing the now-famous song "Mammy" in blackface. The film was a huge success and helped usher in the era of talking pictures.

Jolson continued to be a major star throughout the 1930s and 1940s, appearing in numerous films and recording hit songs like "Swanee" and "April Showers." He also became known for his tireless efforts to entertain American troops during World War II, performing countless shows for soldiers overseas.

Despite his immense popularity, Jolson was not without controversy. His use of blackface makeup, which he claimed was a tribute to African American performers, has been criticized as racially insensitive. He also had a reputation for being difficult to work with and was known for his volatile temper.

Jolson died on October 23, 1950, at the age of 64. Despite his flaws, he remains a towering figure in American entertainment history, a trailblazer who helped pave the way for generations of performers to come.


- "Al Jolson." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., n.d. Web. 28 May 2021.

- "Al Jolson." A&E Television Networks

About Death

The dust and dirt of the Korean front, from where he had returned a few weeks earlier, had settled in his remaining lung and he was close to exhaustion. While playing cards in his suite at the St. Francis Hotel at 335 Powell Street in San Francisco, Jolson collapsed and died of a massive heart attack on October 23, 1950. His last words were said to be "Boys, I'm going." His age was given as 64.

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