Al Jolson

Birth Name: Asa Yoelson

Date of Birth: 7 June [O.S. 26 May], 1886

Place of Birth: Seredžius, Kovno Governorate, Russian Empire (now Lithuania)

Date of Death: October 23, 1950

Place of Death: San Francisco, California, U.S.

Ethnicity: Ashkenazi Jewish

Al Jolson was an American singer, comedian, actor, and vaudevillian. He was known as “The World’s Greatest Entertainer.” His is believed to be the first voice recorded on film.

Al was the son of Lithuanian Jewish parents, Naiomi Etta (Cantor) and Moses/Moishe Rubin Hesselson/Yoelson, a rabbi. Born in Seredžius, Lithuania, he moved to New York c. 1894.

Al was married to technician and actress Erle Galbraith, until his death. He had a son with his former wife, actress, dancer, and singer Ruby Keeler; and two children with Erle.

Al’s paternal grandfather was named Myer/Meyer Hesselson.

Al’s paternal grandmother was named Rachael/Rachel Ghuta Cantor.

Al’s maternal grandfather was named Asa Cantor.

Al’s maternal grandmother was named Etel.

Source: Genealogy of Al Jolson –


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