Al Jolson

Birth Name: Asa Yoelson

Date of Birth: May 26, 1886

Place of Birth: Seredžius, Kovno Governorate, Russian Empire (present-day Lithuania)

Date of Death: October 23, 1950

Place of Death: San Francisco, California

Ethnicity: Ashkenazi Jewish

Al Jolson was an American singer, actor, and comedian. 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 two children with Erle, and a son with his former wife, actress, dancer, and singer Ruby Keeler.

Al’s paternal grandparents were named Myer/Meyer Hesselson and Rachael/Rachel Ghuta Cantor.

Al’s maternal grandparents were named Asa Cantor and Etel.

Source: Genealogy of Al Jolson –


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