Durante, James Francis “Jimmy” (1893 – 1980)
American singer, pianist, comedian and actor. Star of stage, screen and television.
ALS – Autograph Letter Signed, no date, one page, on Sheraton – Astor Hotel, NY letterhead. Written to a relative. Professionally matted in an interesting grey slate – motif board along with a vintage black and white glossy portrait of Durante in fedora, seated at the piano holding a stogie. Letter reads: Dear Julia: Was happy to hear from you since i remember you and your Dad, Uncle Bob and when you were all over to the house in Flushing. Wish I could get over to see you and Sandy but I don’t get home (sic) till three in the morning and by the time I get to bed it’s 5 oclock. Thanks for your invitation my very best wishes to you and Love. Jimmy Durante.
Durante’s distinctive clipped gravelly speech, New York accent, comic language butchery, jazz – influenced songs, and large nose helped make him one of America’s most familiar and popular personalities of the 1920s through the 1970s. His jokes about his nose included referring to it as a Schnozzola, and the word became his nickname.
Anybody remember “Inka Dinka Doo”? Durante popularized such songs as “Me and My Shadow,” “As Time Goes By,” “Make Someone Happy”. No doubt about it, Durante brought joy to millions.