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Russ Columbo

Biography

Vocalist Russ Columbo helped place the typical for Italian popular ballad crooners. In his personal performances, Columbo was cut, debonair, and preferred a spotless white fit of the type George Raft used in films of the time. Regardless of the all-prevailing importance and reputation of Bing Crosby being a vocalist in the first ’30s, it really is impossible to assume the advancement of afterwards Italian crooners such as for example Perry Como and Frank Sinatra minus the impact of Russ Columbo. Furthermore Columbo’s repertoire, a few of which he previously a submit creating, was followed wholeheartedly by various other intimate balladeers, including Nat Ruler Cole, Supplement Jeffries, with most passion, Billy Eckstine. While Columbo was prematurily . to be always a accurate jazz vocalist, jazz performing itself wouldn’t normally be what it really is if Columbo acquired never been over the picture. Russ Columbo was created in NJ, and spent a few of his formative years in Philadelphia prior to the family members relocated to California when he was eight. Columbo was a violin prodigy from age five, as well as the proceed to California was manufactured in part to support his lessons. He produced his professional debut being a violinist on the Imperial Movie theater in SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA at age nine, and by age 17 he was earning money playing in little groupings on Hollywood film sets, offering tempo for silent film shoots. Columbo also performed violin in a number of Los Angeles-based rings before becoming a member of the Gus Arnheim Orchestra in 1928. As talkies proceeded to go into creation, and Columbo quickly discovered function dubbing the performing voices of non-singing celebrities such as for example Gary Cooper and Lewis Rock. He also dubbed Betty Compson’s violin within the film Road Young lady (1929) and produced his onscreen performing debut in a little bit part within the film Dynamite (1929), aimed by Cecil B. DeMille. At the moment Columbo started to lead periodic vocal choruses on Gus Arnheim information, such as for example “Peach of some,” and got the area of Bing Crosby because the band’s presented vocalist when Crosby visited NY in 1930. Columbo continuing in synchronization function, like a little bit player and also made up some music for films into 1931, nonetheless it demonstrated challenging to suppress his ambition to entertain like a frontline performer. Discouragingly, the depths of melancholy seemed hardly enough time to obtain a fresh career off the bottom. In early 1931, composer and agent Con Conrad noticed Russ Colombo perform in a LA nightclub, and was therefore impressed that he made a decision to consider the aspiring vocalist under his wing. Whilst travelling to NY by teach, Columbo and Conrad wrote the melody “You Contact It Madness (But I Contact It Like)” that could become Columbo’s initial strike and radio theme. Russ Columbo enrolled in a stint with NBC Radio on the coast-to-coast broadcast, and shortly had been touted as “the Romeo of Radio.” His reputation was instant, and prior to the end of 1931 Columbo was playing to sold-out homes in NY theaters. Columbo begun to record for RCA Victor in Sept 1931. For approximately per year, radio fans observed “the battle from the baritones”; Conrad was accumulating Columbo’s popularity by keeping the pressure on Bing Crosby, reserving Columbo’s engagements against Crosby’s, also recording Crosby’s music with Columbo before Crosby could easily get directly into record them at ARC. After that towards the finish of 1932, the promotion machine stopped cool — Conrad and Columbo got a falling out in clumps, and something by one Columbo’s Victor documenting contract, personal performances and radio plan were all terminated. Functioning as his very own supervisor, Russ Columbo produced the very best of that which was still left of his popularity in trouble. He installed a humble tour from the U.S. using a music group offering such jazz greats as Gene Krupa and Benny Goodman. It wasn’t hard to construct, as Columbo’s was mostly of the shows on the highway in 1933. This held him in the general public eye, though it demonstrated profitable mainly for the sidemen. Back NY, Columbo appeared inside a Vitaphone brief, entitled That Will go Double, where he poked fun at his picture as an enchanting “crooner.” The brief was sufficiently received that Columbo was asked back again to Hollywood, putting your signature on a agreement with Twentieth Hundred years Pictures (later on 20th Hundred years Fox). Columbo was to create three feature movies, Broadway Via a Keyhole, Moulin Rouge, and AWAKEN and Desire (the final made by Common). On August 31, 1934, Columbo was at the ARC studio room in LA, producing his first information in more than a 12 months — they might show his last. On Sept 2, 1934 Russ Columbo was going to a pal, the Hollywood family portrait photographer Lansing Dark brown, who was simply toying absentmindedly with an old-fashioned pistol he held being a table ornament. It terminated accidentally, as well as the ball lodged in Columbo’s human brain. Operation was attempted, but Russ Columbo passed away that night time at age group 26. Russ Columbo’s whole recorded output could be paid attention to in something similar to two hours, as just 30 studio room recordings, his film songs, and six radio transcriptions survive of his function. Compared to Bing Crosby, Columbo, to become fair, required polish. Occasionally on his recordings he noises anxious, and his low range isn’t as protected as Crosby’s. However in the center and high baritone runs Columbo sounds good, and in such shows as “Guilty” and “Prisoner of Like” he radiates warmness and his organic elegance comes through. This last-named track, but not his “theme” as continues to be often stated, is usually readily recognized with Russ Columbo. It suits the nostalgic, retrospective, and unfortunate idea of Russ Columbo like a talent recinded too early in addition to Columbo himself match his customized white suits.

Quick Facts


Full Name Russ Columbo
Date Of Birth January 14, 1908
Died September 2, 1934, Beverly Hills, California, United States
Profession Actor, Singer, Violinist
Nationality American
Parents Nicola Colombo, Giulia Colombo
Music Songs Prisoner of Love, You Call It Madness, But I Call It Love, Too Beautiful for Words, When You're in Love, You’re My Everything, Goodnight, Sweetheart, I See Two Lovers, Call Me Darling, Auf Wiedersehen, My Dear, Street of Dreams, As You Desire Me, The Lady I Love, Rolling in Love, Back In Your Own Back Yard, Coffee in the Morning and Kisses..., More Than You Know / Time on My Hands, Where the Blue of the Night, Time On My Hands, Let's Pretend There's a Moon, Sweet and Lovely, Medley: Time On My Hands / Easy Come, Easy Go, The House Is Haunted, Medley: My Past, My Present and My Future / Kisses in the Dark, With My Eyes Wide Open I'm Dreaming, Medley: With My Eyes Wide Open / I'm Dreaming, Yon Try Somebody Else, Star Dust, My Past Present and Future, I've Had My Moments, Introduction: Hollywood on the Air, A Peach Of A Pair, My Past, My Present and My Future
Albums Russ Columbo`s Rare Radio Broadcasts 1933 - 1934, Save The Last Dance For Me 1934, All of Me, Street of Dreams, Lost in a Crowd, A Rare Russ Colombo Radio Broadcast of 1932 (Remastered), Top 50 Classics - The Very Best of Russ Colombo, The Legendary Russ Columbo, The Best of the Radio Broadcasts 1933-1934, All of Russ Colombo, Vocal Legend (1928-1934), Living in Dreams, Prisoner of Love, Lonesome Me, Golden Hits By Russ Colombo, Beyond Patina Jazz Masters Russ Columbo
Movies Broadway Thru a Keyhole, Wolf Song, Moulin Rouge, Wake Up and Dream, Hello Sister


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#Fact
1 After Russ Columbo's death, his girlfriend, actress Carole Lombard, and his friends got together and staged an elaborate subterfuge (similar to the plot of the recent film "Good Bye, Lenin!") to keep Columbo's mother from finding out that her son had died, since they thought the news would kill her. The secret campaign, which included making and sending her false reports of what he was supposedly doing and what was happening to him career-wise, continued until Lombard's own early death in 1942.
2 The circumstances of Russ Columbo's sudden death, if true, constitute one of the most freakish freak accidents ever brought to popular attention. The story as it is most frequently given runs thus: Columbo was visiting the studio of a photographer friend when the friend, in lighting a cigarette, lit the match by striking it against the wooden stock of an antique French dueling pistol. The flame set off a long-forgotten charge in the gun, and a lead pistol ball was fired. The pistol ball ricocheted off a nearby table and hit Columbo in the forehead, killing him almost instantly. All this took place in about ten seconds.
3 Universal once considered him for the role of Gaylord Ravenal when their 1930s film version of Show Boat (1936) was still in the discussion stages, but his death ended the speculation.
4 Singer Russ Columbo, a major romantic idol in the early 1930s, was in the midst of a highly publicized romance with Carole Lombard (which her studio was said to have strongly opposed) when he was killed in a bizarre shooting "accident" at the age of 26. In 1955, popular recording star Alan Dale was approached by producers planning a film based on the life of Russ Columbo. It had long been noted that Dale's voice had a quality reminiscent of the ill-fated singer's, and in view of the dramatic and tragic events in Columbo's life, such a movie seemed like a good bet. For some mysterious reason the project never materialized.
5 Interred at Forest Lawn (Glendale), Glendale, California, USA, in the Great Mausoleum, Sanctuary of Vespers, to the left of the Last Supper Window.
6 His mother was gravely ill at the time of his death and was never told of it. She lived the next ten years believing that he was alive, her husband writing her letters as Russ -- telling her of his life and continuing success in the movies.
7 Linked romantically to Carole Lombard at the time of his death.


Soundtrack

Soundtrack

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Boardwalk Empire 2014 TV Series performer - 1 episode
Magic in the Moonlight 2014 writer: "You Call It Madness But I Call It Love"
Crazy Love 2007/I Documentary writer: "You Call It Madness But I Call It Love"
King of California 2007 writer: "Let's Pretend There's A Moon"
Romance & Cigarettes 2005 writer: "Prisoner of Love"
The Sopranos 1999 TV Series writer - 1 episode
In Too Deep 1990 writer: "PRISONER OF LOVE"
Raging Bull 1980 music: "Prisoner of Love" 1931 / performer: "Prisoner of Love" 1931
The Bob Hope All Star Christmas Comedy Special 1977 TV Special writer: "Prisoner of Love"
Where the Action Is 1965 TV Series writer - 1 episode
The T.A.M.I. Show 1964 Documentary music: "Prisoner of Love"
Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall 1958-1959 TV Series music - 2 episodes
Jazz Party 1958 TV Series writer - 1 episode
Show Time at the Apollo 1955 TV Series music - 1 episode
Wake Up and Dream 1934 lyrics: "Let's Pretend There's a Moon", "Too Beautiful for Words", "When You're in Love" / music: "Let's Pretend There's a Moon", "Too Beautiful for Words", "When You're in Love" / performer: "Wake Up and Dream", "Let's Pretend There's a Moon", "Too Beautiful for Words", "When You're in Love"
Moulin Rouge 1934 "Coffee in the Morning and Kisses in the Night", uncredited
Going Hollywood 1933 writer: "You Call It Madness But I Call It Love" 1931 - uncredited
Broadway Thru a Keyhole 1933 performer: "You Are My Past, Present and Future", "I Love You Pizzicato"
That Goes Double 1933 Short music: "Prisoner of Love", "You Call it Madness" / performer: "Prisoner of Love", "You Call it Madness", "My Love"
Night World 1932 music: "Prisoner of Love" - uncredited
Hell Bound 1931 writer: "Is It Love?"
Dynamite 1929 performer: "How Am I to Know" 1929 - uncredited

Actor

Actor

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Wake Up and Dream 1934 Paul Scotti
Moulin Rouge 1934 Russ Columbo
Broadway Thru a Keyhole 1933 Clark Brian
That Goes Double 1933 Short Russ Columbo
Hell Bound 1931
The Texan 1930 Singing Cowboy at Campfire (uncredited)
Dynamite 1929 Singing Mexican Prisoner (uncredited)
Street Girl 1929 Violinist - Gus Arnheim and His Ambassaors (uncredited)
Wonder of Women 1929 uncredited
The Wolf Song 1929 Ambrosio Guiterrez

Music Department

Music Department

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Film Vodvil: Bobby Byrne and Orchestra 1946 Short composer: song "Prisoner of Love"
A Notorious Gentleman 1935 composer: stock music - uncredited

Composer

Composer

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Hello Sister 1930

Self

Self

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Gus Arnheim and His Ambassadors 1928 Short Himself / Vocalist (uncredited)
Gus Arnheim and His Ambassador Hotel Orchestra 1927 Short Himself - Vocalist (uncredited)

Archive Footage

Archive Footage

TitleYearStatusCharacter
Biography 2001 TV Series documentary Himself
Hollywood Out-takes and Rare Footage 1983 Documentary Himself (uncredited)
Hollywood My Home Town 1965 Documentary Himself
Hollywood Without Make-Up 1963 Documentary Himself
Screen Snapshots Series 15, No. 4 1935 Documentary short Himself
Hollywood on Parade No. B-5 1933 Short Himself (uncredited)

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TitleSalary
Broadway Thru a Keyhole (1933) $7,500 /week


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