James Francis "Jimmy" Durante was an actor and musician in the early to late 20th Century, noted for many roles, songs, and comedy routines, and well-loved Christmas classics in various media. A veteran staple of vaudeville, comedy, slapstick and early television, Jimmy Durante was active in children's charities, many of which he supported without a cent of reimbursement. Born with a large nose, Durante made it the centerpiece of his humor and offbeat, irreverent wit, calling himself "The Great Schnozola". His voice and manner left no doubt of his origins in New York City.
Jimmy Durante's Christmas career
- The Great Rupert, also known as A Christmas Wish, featured Durante in classic form, often playing foil and straight man to a stop-motion squirrel (animated by Sci-Fi FX great George Pal) who is aiding two families in financial dire straits.
- Frosty the Snowman - Jimmy Durante both sings and narrates the action in this all-time Christmas classic, enduring well past the life and times of the man himself. Another version of the original song features Durante relating the story of Frosty to a young child who calls him "Uncle Jimmy" and indicates that he and Frosty are close personal friends. The song contains a pre-song intro and breaks in the narrative in Durante's method and style.