All of the following incredibly successful people have one thing in common; Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, and Judy Garland were all heavily influenced by one man: Al Jolson. Jolson was the first Jewish man to be successful in show business. Jolson was to jazz, blues, and ragtime as what Elvis Presley was to rock 'n' roll. His early years were not so successful, but by the time of his death in 1950, he was world famous.
Jolson was born on May 26th, 1886 in Lithuania, Russian Empire. He was born to Jewish parents with the birth name of Asa Yoelson. He was the youngest of four children and his mother tragically died when he was eight years old. In 1891, he immigrated to America because of Jewish oppression in Czarist Russia. He worked as a rabbi and cantor in a synagogue in Washington D.C. when his family joined him in 1894. His family was poor and his father was incredibly strict. Jolson ran away at the age of 14 to New York City where he lived in poverty for two years until he became 16, the legal working age at the time
When Jolson turned 16, he was hired as an usher in a circus. He soon impressed his boss with his voice and was inserted into a segment of the show as a singer. The circus soon folded and he was hired by the producer of a burlesque show. The burlesque show was a bust and ended in a year. Jolson began a vaudeville partnership with his brother Hirsch under the William Morris Agency. After audiences became bored with their performances, he began using blackface. He performed in blackface for Dockstader’s Minstrels which was a sophisticated, topical Broadway style revue. By constantly being in the public eye, Jolson became quite the ladies man and had four wives in his life. Erle Galbraith was his wife until his death and they adopted two children together and had a most successful relationship of this life with Erle. He had gradually earned respect and was signed by the Shubert Brothers to appear at the Winter...