Al Jolson Home Page|The Man|Biographies

Here are an assortment of biographical sketches and works revealing the life and times of The World's Greatest Entertainer.

Visitors to this website often have a simple question, "Just who was Al Jolson." Our friend, Doug Galloway, who was a writer for Variety and a friend of Al Jolson's widow, has done a marvelous job in answering that question with this piece. If you want a sense for the depth and breadth Al Jolson, this should help you out.
In the early days of the twentieth century, Ted Healy slowly climbed the ladder of success. Rising from bit player to Broadway, his friends and co-workers were the Howard brothers: Moe, Shemp and Curly. And, while appearing with Al Jolson, whose work he had emulated and imitated since a boy, engaged one Larry Fine. Jolson was a part of the story, a story which produces The Three Stooges, that so many of us enjoyed on film and television, and one which ends with the mysterious death of Healy, at just age 41. Author Bill Cassara weaves all of these threads together in a fascinating tapestry of vaudeville, Broadway and Hollywood; while keeping track of the players and their roles. Here is a view of Ted Healy you never saw, an accomplishment of Jolson you didn't know, and story that will keep you reading through the end. Click on the cover to get look inside the book on Amazon, and order a copy for your own. Purchases through this link help support the Jolson website as well!
On January 14, 1941, an article was published by columnist Jimmy Fidler which sheds light onto an often questioned aspect of Al Jolson's personality. Here is the article, from the man who lived it, just three weeks after the event.

Jolson Biography The British site of Jolson: The Musical originated this nice biography of Al Jolson. It includes a biographical sketch, along with a look at the man and his music. There is even a section dealing with the blackface controversy. Interesting reading for all!

Al Jolson Derek Crabtree has put together a wonderful biographical piece on Al Jolson on his site, the Sherwood Times. If you are looking for a well rounded source of information on The World's Greatest Entertainer, I think you will find what you are looking for right here!

Another comprehensive biography of Al Jolson was written by James M. Manheim and was first published on the old Music Boulevard site.
The Man Behind The Nose If you don't remember Bozo the Clown, you likely will recognize his iconic image, which has come to represent clowns to young and old. Well, it turns out that Larry Harmon, the creator of Bozo, was given inspiration and encouragement by Al Jolson. In the book, The Man Behind The Nose, an entire chapter is devoted to Jolie, and he is also mentioned in other places in the book. Thanks to the managing editor of the book, we can share that chapter with you here on the website, and encourage you to purchase the book for your library. There is a link to Amazon at right. Click to read the chapter, Al Jolson and the U.S. Calvary in The Moving Picture That Came To Life, Part II.

David Hamer, on his British Jolson site, first published this interesting look at the Jolson story Before the Jazz Singer, 1899-1927.
In the Monday, February 22, 1999, issue of the New York Daily News, the Big Town Biography started out with the Hot Cats, and the biography of AL JOLSON as the lead article. Enjoy this tribute to the man who started it all!

Cincinatti Post on Jolson Thanks to columnist Nick Clooney for his comments on Al Jolson, published in the Cincinatti Post on September 10, 1997. He answers a letter from a young reader who wants to know just who this "Greatest" person was. Check it out!

Jolson's 1933 Caddy Throughout his life, Al Jolson loved nice cars. Here is a look at his 1933 Cadillac, now on display at The National Automobile Museum, in Reno, NV, sponsored by the International Al Jolson Society.

In the September/October, 1998, issue of Tikkun Magazine, Stephen Mo Hanan, who has appeared as Al Jolson in the one man play Jolson, wrote this compelling piece called Al Jolson: The Soul Beneath The Mask.

Jolson's Theatre At just thirty-five years old, Al Jolson became the youngest man in American history to have a theatre named in his honor. Here is the story of that theatre, no longer evident on the streets of New York: Jolson's Fifty-Ninth Street Theatre.

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This listing and material Copyright © 1995-2015 Marc I. Leavey, M.D. Baltimore, Maryland
Updated 16 Jan 11
Updated 25 Jan 15
Updated 15 Feb 15