Born in 1893, Jimmy Durante began his career in vaudeville, his raspy voice and comical facial features garnered him a likability for his humor and his increasing musical talent playing the piano and singing corny songs. He earned the nickname The Schnozzola and became a top act on…more
Jimmy's famous voice was the inspiration for the dog in the Tom and Jerry cartoons.
Jimmy was married to Margie Little on December 14th,1960 until his death on January 1980 and before that he was married to Jeanne Olsen on June 19th, 1921 until her death on February 14th,1943. He and Margie Little adopted a little girl and named her Cecilia or CeCe for short.
Jimmy is 5'7" tall.
Jimmy has 2 stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Motion Pictures located at 1600 Vine Street and for Radio it is located at 1648 Vine Street.
In 1952, Jimmy was nominated for an Emmy for Best Comedian or Comedienne and he won the award the next year (1953) for Best Comedian and was also nominated that year (1953) for Most Outstanding Personality.
Jimmy's first movie that he acted in was Roadhouse Nights in 1930.
In 1934, Jimmy recorded a novelty song called "Inka Dinka Doo" and it was very popular and became his signature tune.
Jimmy recorded several songs with various jazz bands in the early 1920s including The Original Memphis Five, Ladd's Black Aces, Bailey's Lucky Seven and Lanin's Southern Serenaders.
Jimmy was greatly influenced by Scott Joplin.
Jimmy would end each performance by finding a telephone and dial G-O-D and say "thanks."
After suffering several strokes in the 1970's, Jimmy decided to retire from show business but he would still show up for special appearances in a wheelchair.
Jimmy went in with two partners to open a speak-easy during the prohibition years and named it Club Durant (they couldn't afford to add the E). It was a popular spot with show-business people and the bane of prohibition agents of the day.
Jimmy teamed up with dancers Eddie Jackson and Lou Jackson to form an act and they became one of the best known roughhouse acts of the 1920's.
In his younger years, Jimmy organized a ragtime band and played in several well known spots such as the Coney Island College Inn and Harlem's Alamo Club.
Jimmy got fed up with school by second grade and dedicated himself to being a piano player.
Jimmy's dad was an Italian immigrant who made a living as a barber.
In 1962, Jimmy was nominated by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy for the movie Jumbo.
There is varying speculation about who the mysterious "Mrs. Calabash" was which Jimmy signed off with each night. Some upheld that it was a tribute to his first wife, Jeanne, while others say she was a real person - a waitress - that Jimmy ran into once and promised to make famous. However, it was later revealed that it was a reference to his late wife, Jeanne Olson.
In grade school he was teased so badly about his large ears and nose that he later revealed that he made his mind up never to make fun of anyone else, but only to joke about his own features.
Known for his prominent nose, Durante's nicknames were "The Schnoz" and "The Great Schnozzola."
Jimmy: (ad-libbing with Bob Hope) When it comes to noses, you're a retailer. I'm a wholesaler!
Jimmy: Be nice to 'em going up, because you're gonna meet 'em all comin' down.
Jimmy: Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are!