Sunday, October 23, 2011

Diana Dors and Al Jolson

Who was born on this date:

Actress Diana Dors was born on October 23, Swindon, England. She was considered the English equivalent of the blonde bombshells of Hollywood. She studied at London Academy of Dramatic Arts. She often played characters suffering from unrequited love, perhaps an unfortunate parallel to her private life. By the mid 1950s, Dors was known as "the English Marilyn Monroe." She had significant acting ability, which was destined never to be fully utilized (most of her later work is made up of sex-themed comedies. Dors appeared in dozens of film and television shows from the late 1940s through the 1970s. She died on May 4, 1984 from ovarian cancer and is buried at Sunningdale Catholic Cemetery in Sunningdale, England.

Who died on this date:

On October 23, 1950, actor Al Jolson died. He was born on May 26, 1886 in Seredzius, Lithuania. In his heyday, he was dubbed "The World's Greatest Entertainer.” His performing style was brash and extroverted, and he popularized a large number of songs that benefited from his "shamelessly sentimental, melodramatic approach.” In the 1930s, he was America's most famous and highest paid entertainer. Although he's best remembered today as the star in the first (full length) talking movie, The Jazz Singer in 1927, he later starred in a series of successful musical films throughout the 1930s. After a period of inactivity, his stardom returned with the 1946 Oscar-winning biographical film, The Jolson Story. A sequel, Jolson Sings Again, was released in 1949, and was nominated for three Oscars. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Jolson became the first star to entertain troops overseas during World War II, and again in 1950 became the first star to perform for in Korea, doing 42 shows in 16 days. He died on October 23, 1950, just weeks after returning to the U.S., partly due to the physical exertion of performing and is buried at Hillside Memorial Park in Los Angeles.

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