Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Worth 1,000 Words: JIMMY DURANTE & PETER LAWFORD


A ONE-OF-A-KIND, SHOW BIZ GEM is this autographed photo pasted on a tattered and weathered album page. The legendary entertainer JIMMY DURANTE (Feb. 10, 1893-Jan. 29, 1980) inscribed his “well-dressed man” pic: To Peter-A fine Boy-Your Pal Jimmy Durante. “Peter” is actually actor PETER LAWFORD (Sept. 7, 1923-Dec. 24, 1984), who was 15 in 1938 at the time this photo was given to him when he and Durante were under contract at MGM. 

The page is from Peter Lawford's autograph book. Lawford had not yet reached stardom, but had appeared in a small role in the Freddie Bartholemew vehicle, Lord Jeff. The “Great Schnozzola” Durante, however, was already established there, having co-starred in a series of comedies with Buster Keaton, and 1934’s Hollywood Party. Lawford’s breakthrough role was in A Yank at Eaton (1942). Both actors would be MGM mainstays throughout the 1940’s-early ‘50s. Lawford often performed with Durante, in singing, dancing and comedy, on stage and TV. 

Their friendship would endure.
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After PETER LAWFORD’S 1984 death, I purchased this unique item via auction as part of Lawford’s estate sale. It is priceless to me. [from Steve Crum’s showbiz memorabilia collection]
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Ladies and gentlemen, here are Jimmy Durante and Peter Lawford together again...on The Hollywood Palace: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gUbYhG9X_Y

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