Jimmy Durante

James FrancisJimmyDurante  (February 10, 1893 – January 29, 1980) was an American singer, pianist, comedian, and actor.  He was known for his gravelly voice, comic language butchery, jazz-influenced songs, and prominent nose, which he often called “The Schnozzola.” He was one of America’s most familiar and popular personalities of the 1920s through the 1970s.  Durante recorded for Gennett in the 1920’s, and the recordings show him to have been a highly-talented jazz pianist.  He was a member of one of the earliest New York jazz groups, the Original New Orleans Jazz Band.  In 1920 the group was renamed the Jimmy Durante Jazz Band. By the mid-1920’s he was a star in vaudeville and on radio. In 1934 he scored a major hit with the novelty tune, “Inka Dinka Doo,” which became his theme song for the rest of his life. Durante starred in movies and television until he retired from performing in 1972 following a stroke. He died of pneumonia on January 29, 1980.  He is the 2016 inductee into the Starr-Gennett Walk of Fame


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