Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Eddie Cantor (January 31, 1892 - October 10, 1964) was a comedian, singer, actor, songwriter, and one of the most popular entertainers in the United States of America in the early and middle 20th century. His nickname was "Banjo Eyes."
Cantor was born as Edward Israel Iskovitz in New York City, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants. He was orphaned in childhood and made a living entertaining for coins on the city streets of Manhattan's Lower-East-Side.
In 1912 he appeared in Gus Edwards Revue, and in 1917 debuted in the Ziegfeld Follies, where he would appear for years. For some time Cantor co-starred in an act with pioneer African-American comedian Bert Williams, both appearing in blackface; Cantor played William's son.
Cantor started making phonograph records in 1917, recording both comedy songs and routines and popular songs of the day, first for Victor, then for Aeoleon-Vocalion, Pathé, and Emerson. From 1921 through 1925 he had an exclusive contract with Columbia Records, then returned to Victor for the remainder of the decade.
Cantor was one of the era's most successful entertainers, but the 1929 Stock market crash suddenly took him from multi-millionaire status to being broke and deeply in debt. Cantor soon bounced back thanks to Hollywood movies and the radio. Cantor had appeared in a number of short films in the 1920s, but became a feature star in 1930 with the film Whoopee!. He continued making feature films through 1948, the most notable including Roman Scandals (1933), Ali Baba Goes to Town (1937), and If You Knew Susie (1948).
In the 1930s he also began hosting his own radio show, and by 1936 Cantor was the world's highest paid radio star. His radio shows began with a crowd chanting "We want Cantor - We want Cantor", said to have originated when a vaudeville audience used that chant to chase off an opening act who was on a bill before Cantor. Cantor's theme song was the 1903 pop tune "Ida, Sweet as Apple Cider", dedicated to Eddie's wife Ida.
Cantor's career declined somewhat in the late 1930s due to his public denunciations of Adolf Hitler and Fascism. Wishing to distance themselves from any political controversy, many sponsors dropped Cantor's shows. However Cantor's career bounced back with the United States entry into World War II.
In the 1950s he hosted the television show The Colgate Comedy Hour . However, the show landed him in unlikely controversy. When a young Sammy Davis Jr. was the guest performer on one of the shows, Cantor handed Davis his handkerchief after performing. This caused outrage among Southern censors, and they banned the program from their stations. Cantor left the show soon after, due to his strong beliefs in the kindly gesture.
Cantor wrote eight books, including Caught Short (about the Crash of 1929) and his autobiography, My Life is in Your Hands.
- Widow at the Races (1911)
- A Few Moments with Eddie Cantor (1924) (short subject)
- Kid Boots (1926)
- Special Delivery (1927)
- A Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic (1929) (short subject)
- Glorifying the American Girl (1929)
- That Party in Person (1929) (short subject)
- Insurance (1930) (short subject)
- Getting a Ticket (1930) (short subject)
- Whoopee! (1930)
- Palmy Days (1931)
- Talking Screen Snapshots (1932) (short subject)
- The Kid from Spain (1932)
- Roman Scandals (1933)
- The Hollywood Gad-About (1934) (short subject)
- Kid Millions (1934)
- Strike Me Pink (1936)
- Ali Baba Goes to Town (1937)
- The March of Time Volume IV, Issue 5 (1937) (short subject)
- Forty Little Mothers (1940)
- Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943)
- Show Business (1944) (also producer)
- Hollywood Canteen (1944)
- (1945) (short subject)
- American Creed (1946) (short subject)
- Meet Mr. Mischief (1947) (short subject) (appears on poster)
- If You Knew Susie (1948)
- (1949) (short subject)
- The Story of Will Rogers (1952)
- (1952) (short subject)
- The Eddie Cantor Story (1953) (Cameo)
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details