Inka Dinka Doo: The Life of Jimmy Durante

Jhan Robbins, Author Paragon House Publishers $19.95 (194p) ISBN 978-1-55778-418-6
Veteran journalist and biographer Robbins ( Yul Brynner ) recalls the life of the late comic, the small man with the big nose known to his fans as Schnozzola. Born in 1894 to French-Italian parents, Durante grew up on Manhattan's Lower East Side and quit school early. He began playing piano in tough clubs and telling jokes, even though he was ``afraid people would laugh at me.'' But audiences only laughed with Durante as he assaulted the English language and warbled the dizzy songs that made him a star on Broadway, radio, movies and TV. The author attributes the entertainer's worldwide popularity not only to his singular talents but to his kindness, generosity and courtesy (an assessment backed up by the affectionate reminiscences of Frank Sinatra, George Burns, Marlene Dietrich, Ethel Merman, Bette Davis and a host of other admirers). Numerous anecdotes portray the Schnoz as a man without an enemy, a rare phenomenon in showbiz. Photos. Movie/Entertainment Book Club selection. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/04/1991
Release date: 11/01/1991
Genre: Nonfiction
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