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Al Jolson

Updated on January 7, 2017

Al Jolson was an American singer and actor. Born Asa Yoelson, at St. Petersburg, Russia, May 26, 1886. Died San Francisco, California, Oct. 23, 1950.

Jolson was one of the most exciting theatrical performers of his time. His unique singing style popularized many songs, among them April Showers, Avalon,

Mammy, and Sonny Boy. Often performing in blackface, Jolson starred in a series of musical shows at the Winter Garden Theater in New York City. He played the title role in the first important sound film, The Jazz Singer (1927).

The son of a cantor, Jolson joined Lew Dockstader's Minstrels, a famous blackface troupe, in 1909. During World War II and the Korean War he entertained American armed forces. He sang some of his most popular songs for the sound track of The Jolson Story (1946), a film based on his life.

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