Eddie Cantor - Rotten Tomatoes

Eddie Cantor



Entertainer Eddie Cantor, he of the "banjo eyes" and boundless hyperkinetic energy, was born on New York's Lower East Side to Russian-Jewish immigrant parents. Orphaned early on, Eddie was raised by his maternal grandmother Esther, who supported herself and her grandson as a door-to-door peddler. After winning $5 at a Bowery Theatre Amateur Night, the teenaged Cantor knew where his destiny lay. He lived a hand-to-mouth existence as a vaudeville performer, singing waiter, and blackface comedian in Gus Edwards' famous schoolroom ensemble act. Though moderately successful as a comic singer, Cantor didn't truly hit the big time until he was hired for Ziegfeld's Midnight Frolics in 1916. He stayed with the Ziegfeld Follies throughout the 1920s, and also starred in the producer's "book" shows Kid Boots and Whoopee. In addition to his expertly timed comic patter, Cantor achieved fame by introducing such songs as "If You Knew Susie," "Dinah," "Makin' Whoopee," and of course, "Ida," a paean to his wife of 49 years, Ida Tobias. After making his movie debut in a DeForest Phonofilm talking short subject in 1922, Cantor starred in a brace of enjoyable silent films, Kid Boots (1926) and Special Delivery (1927). His best Hollywood years were spent under contract to Samuel Goldwyn, where Eddie turned out one big-budget musical comedy per year between 1930 and 1936: Whoopee (1930), Palmy Days (1931), The Kid From Spain (1932), Roman Scandals (1933), Kid Millions (1934), and Strike Me Pink (1936). Unfortunately, most of his post-Goldwyn films seemed like hokey, outdated rehashes of his earlier films. Though his movie career faltered, Cantor remained popular throughout the 1940s on his long-running radio program, where he clowned with such stooges as announcer Harry Von Zell, violinist Rubinoff, and Bert "Mad Russian" Gordon. The offstage Cantor was not perfect, but most of the man's character flaws have been forgotten in the light of his inexhaustible work on behalf of dozens of charities, most prominently the March of Dimes. He also regularly put his career on the line through his union activities with Actors Equity, the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Radio Artists, and flew in the face of bigotry and anti-Semitics through his work with the B'nai Brith and Jewish Relief. Though slowed down by a heart attack in 1953, Cantor kept his hand in whenever possible, even hosting a 38-week syndicated TV variety series, The Eddie Cantor Comedy Theatre. In 1953, Eddie Cantor was the subject of the Warner Bros. biopic The Eddie Cantor Story.

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet Hollywood Singing and Dancing: A Musical History - The 1920s
  • Actor
2009
No Score Yet Eddie Cantor - Lost Performances Vol 2
  • Actor
2007
No Score Yet Eddie Cantor - Lost Performances Vol 1
  • Actor
2007
No Score Yet Great Performances
  • Actor
2005
20% Rhapsody in Blue
  • Actor
2001
No Score Yet Lucy: Queen of Comedy
  • Actor
1990
No Score Yet The Story of Will Rogers
  • Himself
1952
No Score Yet Four Star Revue
  • Actor
1951
No Score Yet If You Knew Susie
  • Producer
  • Sam Parker
1948
75% Ziegfeld Follies
  • Screenwriter
1946
No Score Yet Show Business
  • Eddie Martin
  • Producer
1944
No Score Yet Hollywood Canteen
  • Himself
1944
No Score Yet Thank Your Lucky Stars
  • Himself/Joe Simpson
1943
No Score Yet Ali Baba Goes to Town
  • Ali Baba
1937
No Score Yet Strike Me Pink
  • Eddie Pink
1936
No Score Yet Kid Millions
  • Eddie Wilson Jr.
1934
No Score Yet Roman Scandals
  • Eddie/Oedipus
1933
No Score Yet The Kid from Spain
  • Eddie Williams
1932
No Score Yet Palmy Days
  • Screenwriter
  • Eddie Simpson
1931
100% Whoopee
  • Henry Williams
1930
No Score Yet Glorifying the American Girl
  • Himself, performing in revue
1929
No Score Yet Kid Boots
  • Kid Boots
1926
No Score Yet Eddie Cantor
  • Actor

TV

RATING TITLE CREDIT
No Score Yet Great Performances
2000
  • Appearing

Quotes from Eddie Cantor's Characters