Al Jolson biography 2022

Actor Al Jolson

Al Jolson biography

Al Jolson was an American singer and actor born in Lithuania.

Al Jolson was the gramophone star of the 1910s and 1920s and, at the same time, had a career as a black-inked minstrel singer in varieties and with touring groups.

As the son of a Jewish rabbi and cantor who was critical of show business, Al Jolson used the black mask to create an expressive identity on stage and in film.

Al Jolson also became famous outside the USA with the lead role in the first official speech film, The Jazz Singer (1927), where in addition to singing, he uttered the prophetic line "You ain't heard nothing 'yet."

In the 1930s, Al Jolson was mainly heard on the radio, but his career gained a new impetus when he voiced his own songs in two biographical films, The Jolson Story (1946) and Jolson sings again (1949).

Al Jolson belonged to the era before the intimate microphone singers but has influenced Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, and many other singers. Among his countless hits are Swanee (1920), My Mammy (1927), and Sonny Boy (1928).

last updated September 2022

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