Jolson: the legend comes to life

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Oxford University Press, Sep 15, 1988 - Biography & Autobiography - 411 pages
They call him "The Immortal Jolson"--the dynamic king of Broadway. Audiences knew him for four decades as The World's Greatest Entertainer. Now Herbert G. Goldman gives us the definitive biography of this quintessential star of the musical stage. _____With a sure eye for the revealing anecdote, Goldman chronicles each step of Al Jolson's colorful life: his early struggles with his brother, Harry, on the vaudeville and burlesque circuit; his rise to stardom on Broadway, which prompted aVarietywriter to proclaim, "The Shuberts may run the Winter Garden, but Al Jolson owns it"; his glory at the pinnacle of national fame, which came with his appearances in the moviesThe Jazz Singer(the first "talking picture") andThe Singing Fool; his subsequent decline and brief resurgence after the film biographyThe Jolson Storywas released in 1946; and his final round of appearances in 1950, entertaining American troops in Korea just before his death. Goldman explores the complexities of the Jolson personality, as revealed in his four stormy marriages and his relations with his family, business associates, friends, and enemies. _____Jolson's childlike egocentricity, restless spirit, and frequent generosity all emerge in this finely rounded portrait. But what emerges most vividly is a picture of Jolson the entertainer--a man of the stage whose exuberant optimism and magnetic energy enthralled three generations of audiences. _____In doing the research for this lively biography, Goldman combed major archives, meticulously compiled data from old trade newspapers, and conducted numerous interviews among the ever-thinning ranks of those who knew and worked with Jolson. The result is a one-of-a-kind rendering of a fascinating life and times.

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Jolson: the legend comes to life

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Al Jolson is probably best remembered for the film The Jazz Singer . But in his time, he was an immensely popular performer whose gift was the ability to communicate magically with live audiences ... Read full review


Scene Ten I The Jazz Singer
Scene One I Show Girl

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About the author (1988)

About the Author:
Herbert G. Goldman is a free-lance writer who lives in New York City. He is currently at work on a biography of Fanny Brice.

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