CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE CELEBRITY KIND by Brian Gari (audiobook)
Eddie Cantor was a huge star of Vaudeville, Broadway, Old Time Radio, silent movies, and talkies. He was awarded an honorary Academy Award in 1956 for distinguished service to the film industry, in a long career that spanned three decades, and in such memorable films as Special Delivery, Kid Boots, Whoopee!, and Roman Scandals.
One of his earliest paying jobs was as a singing waiter with Jimmy Durante accompanying him on piano. Florenz Ziegfeld hired Cantor to appear at his rooftop post-show, Midnight Frolic, in 1917. A year later, Cantor made his Broadway debut in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1917, often appearing in blackface in an era popularized Will Rogers, Fanny Brice, and W.C. Fields.
After appearing on Broadway for years, he moved into radio in the 1920s, later appearing with Rudy Vallee on Vallee's The Fleischmann's Yeast Hour. In 1931, he starred in an hour-long Sunday evening variety series that established him as a leading comedian. He also discovered and helped guide the career of singer Dinah Shore, first featuring her on his radio show in 1940, as well as other performers, including Deanna Durbin, Bobby Breen, and Eddie Fisher. Cantor also had a huge song hit in 1934, "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," which sold 400,000 copies by Christmas of that year.
Eddie’s grandson, Brian Gari, has had many “Close Encounters of the Celebrity Kind” by rubbing elbows with his grandfather’s friends he met over the years. In this book, he gives the low-down on show business legends, such as:
EDDIE CANTOR, DANNY THOMAS, and GEORGIE JESSEL. Music legends JOHN LENNON and THE BEATLES, LITTLE RICHARD, BRIAN WILSON, PHIL SPECTOR, NEIL SEDAKA, JAN & DEAN, CAROLE KING, THE CARPENTERS, DAVID CASSIDY, and GLEN CAMPBELL. Songwriting legends STEPHEN SONDHEIM, MARVIN HAMLISCH, and ANTHONY NEWLEY. Comedy legends GEORGE CARLIN, CHRIS ROCK, ROBIN WILLIAMS, RODNEY DANGERFIELD, SOUPY SALES, and JERRY STILLER. Acting legends KATHARINE HEPBURN, and MIA FARROW. Political legend BOBBY KENNEDY, and many more! The book also features many previously unpublished photos.
About Brian Gari: he wrote all the songs for the Broadway musical, Late Nite Comic. He has recorded twelve albums, and has also produced all of the CDs and DVDs on his grandfather, Eddie Cantor.
"Quite an ecclectic collection of encounters. A fun read." –Playbill