The First Superstar
Born Asa Yoelson in Lithuania, circa 1886
Together with his older brother, Hirsch, young Asa ran
The leading light of the Broadway musical stage from 1911 through to 1941, Jolson starred in the first ‘talking picture’,
Divorced in 1939 from his third wife, showgirl Ruby Keeler, Jolson married for the fourth time in 1945. He died in October 1950, shortly after returning from entertaining UN troops in Korea.
A staunch patriot, his contribution towards bolstering the morale of front line troops in this conflict and during the two world wars, was recognised by the posthumous award of the American Medal of Merit. During an era marked by conflict and depression, Jolson’s ebullient good humour, and the unfailing optimism expressed in his art, quickened the heartbeat and lifted the spirits of ordinary people everywhere.
Despite the years that have elapsed since his passing in 1950, Jolson is still fondly remembered by millions, including many of today’s popular entertainers who readily acknowledge his influence upon their own careers. His memory is perpetuated by a thriving fan club, The