CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE CELEBRITY KIND by Brian Gari
Eddie Cantor was a huge star of Vaudeville,Broadway, Old Time Radio, silent movies, and talkies. He was awarded anhonorary Academy Award in 1956 for distinguished service to the filmindustry, in a long career that spanned three decades, and in suchmemorable films as Special Delivery, Kid Boots, Whoopee!, and RomanScandals.
One of his earliest paying jobs was as asinging waiter with Jimmy Durante accompanying him on piano. FlorenzZiegfeld hired Cantor to appear at his rooftop post-show, MidnightFrolic, in 1917. A year later, Cantor made his Broadway debut inthe Ziegfeld Follies of 1917, often appearing in blackface inan era popularized Will Rogers, Fanny Brice, and W.C. Fields.
After appearing on Broadway for years, he movedinto radio in the 1920s, later appearing with Rudy Vallee onVallee's The Fleischmann's Yeast Hour. In 1931, he starred inan hour-long Sunday evening variety series that established him as a leadingcomedian. He also discovered and helped guide the career ofsinger Dinah Shore, first featuring her on his radio show in 1940, aswell as other performers, including Deanna Durbin, BobbyBreen, and Eddie Fisher. Cantor also had a huge song hit in 1934,"Santa Claus Is Coming to Town," which sold 400,000 copies byChristmas of that year.
Eddie’s grandson, Brian Gari, has had many “CloseEncounters of the Celebrity Kind” by rubbing elbows with his grandfather’sfriends he met over the years. In this book, he gives the low-down on showbusiness legends, such as:
EDDIE CANTOR, DANNY THOMAS, and GEORGIE JESSEL.Music legends JOHN LENNON and THE BEATLES, LITTLE RICHARD, BRIAN WILSON, PHILSPECTOR, NEIL SEDAKA, JAN & DEAN, CAROLE KING, THE CARPENTERS, DAVIDCASSIDY, and GLEN CAMPBELL. Songwriting legends STEPHEN SONDHEIM, MARVINHAMLISCH, and ANTHONY NEWLEY. Comedy legends GEORGE CARLIN, CHRIS ROCK, ROBINWILLIAMS, RODNEY DANGERFIELD, SOUPY SALES, and JERRY STILLER. Acting legends KATHARINEHEPBURN, and MIA FARROW. Political legend BOBBY KENNEDY, and many more! Thebook also features many previously unpublished photos.
About Brian Gari: he wrote all the songs for theBroadway musical, Late Nite Comic. He has recorded twelvealbums, and has also produced all of the CDs and DVDs on his grandfather, EddieCantor.
"Quite an ecclectic collection of encounters. A fun read." –Playbill
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