DEAD: ON THIS DATE
Jimmy Durante (aged 86)
American jazz singer, pianist, comedian and actor
James Francis Durante (February 10, 1893 – January 29, 1980) was an American singer, pianist, comedian, and actor. His distinctive clipped gravelly speech, Lower East Side Manhattan accent, comic language-butchery, jazz-influenced songs, and prominent nose helped make him one of America’s most familiar and popular personalities of the 1920s through the 1970s. He often referred to his nose as the schnozzola (from the Yiddish slang word “schnoz” [big nose]), and the word became his nickname.
DEATH: Durante retired from performing in 1972 after he became wheelchair-bound following a stroke. He died of pneumonia in Santa Monica, California on January 29, 1980, twelve days before he would have turned 87. He received Roman Catholic funeral rites four days later, with fellow entertainers including Desi Arnaz, Ernest Borgnine, Marty Allen, and Jack Carterin attendance, and was interred at Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City.