Jimmy Durante's Interesting Facts

1 Interviewed in "The Great Comedians Talk About Comedy" by Larry Wilde (1968).
2 Is mentioned by name in the lyrics of the Ralph Freed/Burton Lane song "How About You?" (from Babes on Broadway (1941)) .
3 On August 15, 1958, for his charitable acts, Durante was awarded a huge three foot high brass loving cup by the Al Bahr Shriners Temple. The inscription was, "Jimmy Durant, the World's Most Famous Comedian. A loving cup to you, Jimmy. It's larger than your nose, but smaller than your heart. Happiness always, Al Bahr Temple, August 15, 1958".
4 In Blondie of the Follies (1932), in which he had a starring role, Marion Davies--playing Blondie--addresses Billie Dove's character as "Lurlene Calabash". Durante often ended his television, radio and nightclub appearances with "Goodnight Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are".
5 He was awarded 2 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Motion Pictures at 1606 Vine Street; and for Radio at 1648 Vine Street in Hollywood, California.
6 Has a street named after him on the east side of Las Vegas, Nevada.
7 His voice was the inspiration for that of the dog in the Tom and Jerry cartoons.
8 A legal challenge to his adoption of daughter CeCe late in life, on the grounds that he was too old to care for such a young child, was dismissed by a judge, who said, "I've heard this man sing 'Young at Heart.'".
9 Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith. Pg. 146-148. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387
10 Sang the famous song "Frosty the Snowman".
11 Famous for a number of other beloved catchphrases besides the "Mrs. Calabash" routine, including: "It's a castastrostroke!", "I'm mortified!", "Surrounded by assassins!", "Everybody wants ta get inta da act!" and "Hotch-cha-cha-cha-cha!".
12 Also made a living as a bandleader and talent booker.
13 Dropped out of school in the eighth grade and a couple of years later played ragtime piano for a living, taking jobs wherever he could, including bars, cabarets and whorehouses. He became known for a time as "Ragtime Jimmy".
14 Comic Sonny King, who worked with Durante during his career, stated in an interview that the mysterious "Mrs. Calabash" was indeed Jimmy's late wife Jeanne Olson, but "Calabash" was a reference to Calabasas, California, where she was hospitalized in her later years. She had difficulty in pronouncing the city name, often calling it "Calabash", and it became an inside joke for the Durantes.
15 According to the book, "Hollywood Trivia", (Greenwich House, 1984), by David P. Strauss, Jimmy Durante's famous "Mrs. Calabash" sign-off referred to his first wife, Jeanne Olson. Calabash was the name of a Chicago suburb they both liked. However, there is no known Chicago suburb named Calabash.
16 For years, he signed off his radio and television shows with "Goodnight Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are", but he would never divulge who she was. Some speculated it was a "code name" for a current or former lover, some doubted she ever existed. It was not until after his death in 1980 that it was revealed she was, indeed, a real person.
17 Daughter Cecilia is a horseback-riding instructor, is married to a computer designer, lives near San Diego, and has two sons and a daughter.
18 Interred at Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California, USA. Specific Interment Location: F, T96, 6.
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