Cab Calloway

Cab Calloway


12/25/1907, Rochester, New York



Birth Name

Cabell Calloway III


out of 10
User Rating
3 votes


Cab Calloway was born on December 25, 1907, in Rochester, New York. His history is almost directly tied to that of the Cotton Club, but he appeared in countless entertainment ventures outside of the jazz world. Many fans of The Blues Brothers remember him singing Minnie the Moocher,…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Cab was the first African-American band-leader to be prominently featured on radio.

    • Cab received the Ebony Lifetime Achievement Award, in 1985.

    • Cab was presented with National Medal of the Arts, by President Bill Clinton in October 1993.

    • Cab's two biggest Broadway successes were in Porgy and Bess (1952), opposite Leontyne Price and William Warfield, and in Hello, Dolly! (1967), opposite Pearl Bailey and his daughter Chris Calloway.

    • Cab's 80th birthday, in 1987, was celebrated with a concert at Carnegie Hall, where he was reunited with several musicians from his original band.

    • Cab's biography was to be made into a film in 1987, with Lou Gossett Jr. as producer and director, and Lionel Richie playing Cab. However, Richie turned the role down, and the project was abandoned.

    • Cab recorded a disco version of "Minnie The Moocher" in 1977.

    • Cab helped establish the Cab Calloway Museum at Coppin State College in Baltimore, Maryland, in the 1980s.

    • Cab's most famous acting role to modern audiences was his portrayal of Curtis, life-long friend of Jake and Elwood in The Blues Brothers. (1980) He also performed his greatest hit song in this, "Minnie The Moocher," wearing his trademark white tuxedo.

    • Cab was in a short-lived Broadway revival of The Pajama Game with Hal Linden and Barbara McNair, in 1973-1974.

    • Cab was guest judge in 1986 for the Worldwide Wrestling Entertainment's "Wrestlemania 2" at Nassau Coliseum for a boxing match between Mr. T and Rowdy Roddy Piper.

    • Cab appeared in the 1991 music video for Janet Jackson's "Alright."

    • Cab wrote a book in 1944 about "jive talking" called The New Cab Calloway's Hepsters' Dictionary: Language of Jive.

    • Cab's daughter, Chris, also went into singing and acting.

    • Cab had a school named after him, the Cab Calloway School of The Arts in Wilmington, Delaware, which opened in 1992.

    • Cab was inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame in 1987.

    • Cab became the bandleader of Harlem's famous Cotton Club in the 1930s, filling in for Duke Ellington whenever he was out on tour.

    • Cab had the first jazz album to sell a million copies, "Minnie The Moocher," in March 1931.

    • Cab's favorite way of dress was a white tuxedo.

  • Quotes

    • Cab Calloway: A movie and a stage show are two entirely different things. A picture, you can do anything you want. Change it, cut out a scene, put in a scene, take a scene out. They don't do that on stage.

    • Cab Calloway: My audience was my life. What I did and how I did it, was all for my audience.

    • Cab Calloway: I forgot the lyric to another song that I was doing and I put in skee-tee-tuh-bee and the hi-de-hos and it became very effective. And then I sat down and wrote 'Minnie the Moocher.'

    • Cab Calloway: You see this rapping they're doing today, I did that 25, 35, 45, 55 years ago! Call it rap or scat, singing for me was just a feeling that you got.

    • Cab Calloway: The only difference between a black entertainer and a white entertainer is that my ass has been kicked a lot more and a lot harder because it's black.

    • Cab Calloway: During the '40s they used to say that I had 40 suits and 40 pairs of shoes. It ain't true. I had 50 suits and 50 pairs of shoes and 50 pairs of pearl-gray gloves too. They used to say that I got arrested twice a month for speeding on the New Jersey Turnpike. That's a lie. Brother, I owned the New Jersey Turnpike, and I used to run that big old Lincoln through the Holland Tunnel and over the Jersey meadowlands like there was no tomorrow. They used to say that I had a beautiful woman in every city and town in the country. Shoot, I had two, one for rainy days and one for sunny days. They say I've had and lost millions of dollars. Buddy, they haven't stopped counting yet. Women, horses, cars, clothes. I did it all. And do you know what that's called, ladies and gentlemen? It's called living.