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Portrait of Al Jolson with a Smile
Born in Lithuania, Asa Yoelson-Al Jolson, known professionally as Al Jolson was a celebrated singer and dancer. He was a Broadway attraction prior to gaining worldwide fame as the star of "The Jazz Singer." This 1927 film signaled the transition from silent pictures to sound. Jolson was known as "The World's Greatest Entertainer;" however, his legacy is complicated by the modern-day controversy over his frequent use of blackface. Jolson extended his career by becoming a popular recording star and the host of radio shows. He saw his life celebrated in the 1946 movie musical "The Jolson Story." In this portrait, Jolson appears sure and direct as if reflecting on the impact of his career.