Contents 1 Early life 2 Career 2.1 Films 2.2 Musician 3 Death 4 In popular culture 5 Further reading 6 References 7 External links

Early life[edit] Columbo was born in Camden, New Jersey, the twelfth child of Italian immigrant parents, Nicola and Giulia (Julia) Colombo. He attended Everett Grammar School and started playing the violin at a very young age and debuted professionally at the age of 13. His family moved to Los Angeles when he was 16, and he attended Belmont High School there, left high school at age 17 to study violin under Calmon Luvovski and travel with various bands around the country. He sang and played violin in numerous nightclubs.

Career[edit] Films[edit] By 1928, at the age of 20, Columbo began to participate in motion pictures, including a Vitaphone short in which Columbo appeared as a member of Gus Arnheim and His Orchestra. Eventually, he did obtain some feature work in front of the camera, but he slowed down his activities in cinema to pursue other interests. At the time of his death, Columbo had just completed work on the film Wake Up and Dream; he was on his way to stardom when his life was cut short.[1] Among Columbo's other films are: Woman to Woman (with Betty Compton), Wolf Song (with Lupe Vélez), The Texan (with Gary Cooper), and Broadway Thru a Keyhole.[2][3] Musician[edit] Columbo performed seven vocals while with Arnheim as a member of the string section, six for Okeh Records and only one for Victor ("A Peach of a Pair") on June 18, 1930, a few months before Bing Crosby joined the band, along with Al Rinker and Harry Barris as "The Rhythm Boys"). Columbo ran a nightclub for a while, The Club Pyramid, but gave it up when his manager told him he had star potential.[2] In 1931, he traveled to New York City with his manager, songwriter Con Conrad. Conrad secured a late-night radio slot with NBC. This led to numerous engagements, a recording contract with RCA Victor records, and tremendous popularity with legions of mostly female fans. Not long after arriving in New York, Columbo met actress Dorothy Dell at an audition for the Ziegfeld Follies and began seeing her. Conrad did his best to break the relationship up with a series of publicity-created "ruse romances" involving Columbo and actresses such as Greta Garbo and Pola Negri; it succeeded.[4] (Dorothy Dell died in an auto accident in June 1934—just months before Columbo's own fatal accident.) The type of singing that was popularized by the likes of Columbo, Rudy Vallee, and Bing Crosby is called crooning. Columbo disliked the label, but it caught on with the general public. It gained popular credence, despite its initial use as a term of derision for the singers employing their low, soothing voices in romantic songs. Similarly, to reinforce his romantic appeal, he was called "Radio's Valentino."[5] Columbo composed the songs "Prisoner of Love", "You Call It Madness (But I Call It Love)" with Con Conrad, Gladys Du Bois, and Paul Gregory, "Too Beautiful For Words", recorded by the Teddy Joyce Orchestra in 1935, "When You're in Love", "My Love", "Let's Pretend There's a Moon", recorded by Fats Waller and Tab Hunter, and "Hello Sister". "Prisoner of Love" is a standard that has been recorded by Frank Sinatra, Jo Stafford, Art Tatum, Perry Como, the Ink Spots, Mildred Bailey, Teddy Wilson with Lena Horne on vocals, Bing Crosby, Billy Eckstine, and James Brown. Perry Como had a no.1 hit on Billboard with his recording. James Brown had a Top 20 pop hit and performed the song on The Ed Sullivan Show and in the concert movie The T.A.M.I. Show (1964).

Death[edit] On Sunday, September 2, 1934, Columbo was shot under peculiar circumstances by his longtime friend, photographer Lansing Brown, while Columbo was visiting him at home. Brown had a collection of firearms and the two men were examining various pieces. Quoting Brown's description of the accident:[6] I was absent-mindedly fooling around with one of the guns. It was of a dueling design and works with a cap and trigger. I was pulling back the trigger and clicking it time after time. I had a match in my hand and when I clicked, apparently the match caught in between the hammer and the firing pin. There was an explosion. Russ slid to the side of his chair. The ball ricocheted off a nearby table and hit Columbo above the left eye. Surgeons at Good Samaritan Hospital made an unsuccessful attempt to remove the ball from Columbo's brain; he died less than six hours after the shooting.[1][7] Columbo's death was ruled an accident, and Brown exonerated from blame.[8][9] His funeral mass was attended by numerous Hollywood luminaries, including Bing Crosby and Carole Lombard, who was to have had dinner with Columbo the evening of the accident and who was romantically involved with him.[1][4][10][11] Columbo's mother was hospitalized in serious condition from a heart attack at the time of the accident; the news was withheld from her by his brothers and sisters for the remaining ten years of her life.[1][12] Due to her previous heart condition, it was feared that the news would prove fatal to her (she died in 1944). They used all manner of subterfuges to give the impression that Columbo was still alive, including faked letters from him and records used to simulate his radio program.[13] Crypt of Russ Columbo, in the Great Mausoleum, Forest Lawn Glendale Columbo is interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California. Actress Virginia Brissac was serving as Columbo's private secretary at the time of his death, and was later called upon by the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office to testify and identify Columbo’s remains at the subsequent inquest.[14]

In popular culture[edit] In 1958, singer Jerry Vale recorded a tribute album titled I Remember Russ. In 1995, 61 years after Columbo's death, singer Tiny Tim released an album in tribute to Columbo, titled Prisoner of Love (A Tribute to Russ Columbo), which he recorded with the group Clang. Columbo is one of the historical figures named in the Neil Diamond composition "Done Too Soon". Columbo is one of the three famous crooners named in the 1932 Looney Tunes cartoon Crosby, Columbo, and Vallee.

Further reading[edit] Toran, Tony. A Prisoner of Love - The Definitive Story of Russ Columbo. Bear Manor Media, 2006, ISBN 1-59393-055-0 Lanza, Joseph and Dennis Penna. Russ Columbo and the Crooner Mystique. Feral House, 2002. ISBN 0-922915-80-6 Miano, Lou, Russ Columbo: The Amazing Life and Mysterious Death of a Hollywood Singing Legend. Silver Tone Publications, 2001. ISBN 0-9677970-1-2 Kaye, Lenny. You Call It Madness : The Sensuous Song of the Croon. Villard, 2004. ISBN 0-679-46308-9 Time Capsule 1944; a History of the Year Condensed from the Pages of Time. Time-Life Books, 1967. Adam, Beverly. Two Lovers:the love story of Carole Lombard and Russ Columbo. Createspace, 2016, ISBN 97815234-025-1-9

References[edit] ^ a b c d "Bullet Fired Accidentally Kills Singer". The Evening Independent. September 3, 1934. Retrieved June 24, 2010.  ^ a b "Russ Columbo Doesn't Croon". Milwaukee Journal. November 1, 1931. Retrieved June 24, 2010.  ^ "Theatre Offerings for Next Week: At the Princess". Montreal Gazette. November 4, 1933. Retrieved June 24, 2010.  ^ a b Kilgallen, Dorothy (June 5, 1941). "Voice of Broadway". The Miami News. Retrieved June 24, 2010.  ^ "Radio's Valentino" (PDF). Radio Guide. New York: Radio Guide, Inc. December 5, 1931.  ^ "Russ Columbo Dies By Accidental Shot". The Miami News. September 3, 1934. Retrieved June 24, 2010.  ^ "Russ Columbo Is Accidentally Slain". The Rock Hill Herald. September 4, 1934. Retrieved June 24, 2010.  ^ "Columbo's Death Held Accidental". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. September 6, 1934. Retrieved June 24, 2010.  ^ "Coroner's Jury Hears Story of Colombo's Death". Berkeley Daily Gazette. September 5, 1934. Retrieved June 24, 2010.  ^ "Other Columbo Gun Unloaded". The Miami News. September 5, 1934. Retrieved June 24, 2010.  ^ "Timely Closeups From Hollywood: Columbo Ceremonial". The Day. September 6, 1934. Retrieved June 24, 2010.  ^ "Mrs. Columbo is Not Yet Aware of Son's Death". The Ososso Argus-Press. September 4, 1934. Retrieved June 24, 2010.  ^ "Death of Russ Columbo's Mother Ends Tender Hoax". The Miami News. August 31, 1944. Retrieved June 24, 2010.  ^ Camden People, Russ Columbo accessed 5.7.13

External links[edit] Wikimedia Commons has media related to Russ Columbo. Good introduction to Columbo--some basic facts implemented into this article Some reviews of a Russ Columbo book from Feral House Russ Columbo on IMDb Russ Columbo at Find a Grave Russ Columbo, from Survey of American Popular Music by Frank Hoffmann (modified for the web by Robert Birkline) Authority control WorldCat Identities VIAF: 3399339 LCCN: n82020536 MusicBrainz: 4482c264-4ef5-410d-b028-a83ce2fdbec4 SNAC: w67s8vc7 Retrieved from "" Categories: 1908 births1934 deathsAccidental deaths in CaliforniaAmerican croonersAmerican male film actorsAmerican jazz musiciansAmerican male singersAmerican people of Italian descentAmerican pop singersAmerican violinistsMale violinistsBurials at Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale)Deaths by firearm in CaliforniaFirearm accident victims in the United StatesMusicians from Camden, New Jersey20th-century American male actors20th-century violinists20th-century American singersMale actors of Italian descentHidden categories: Articles with hCardsFind a Grave template with ID same as WikidataWikipedia articles with VIAF identifiersWikipedia articles with LCCN identifiersWikipedia articles with MusicBrainz identifiersWikipedia articles with SNAC-ID identifiers

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Camden, New JerseyLos AngelesCaliforniaJazzPopular MusicViolinBaritoneBaritoneViolinPrisoner Of Love (1931 Song)Camden, New JerseyNightclubVitaphoneGus ArnheimWake Up And Dream (1934 Film)Betty ComptonWolf SongLupe VélezThe Texan (film)Gary CooperBroadway Through A KeyholeOkeh RecordsBing CrosbyAl RinkerHarry BarrisNew York CityCon ConradNBCRCA VictorDorothy DellZiegfeld FolliesGreta GarboPola NegriRudy ValleeBing CrosbyCrooningRomantic LoveRudolph ValentinoFats WallerTab HunterPrisoner Of Love (1931 Song)Frank SinatraJo StaffordArt TatumPerry ComoInk SpotsMildred BaileyTeddy WilsonLena HorneBilly EckstineJames BrownBillboard Hot 100The Ed Sullivan ShowThe T.A.M.I. ShowLansing BrownGood Samaritan Hospital (Los Angeles)Bing CrosbyCarole LombardEnlargeForest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale)Glendale, CaliforniaVirginia BrissacLos Angeles County Coroner's OfficeJerry ValeTiny Tim (musician)Neil DiamondLooney TunesCrosby, Columbo, And ValleeInternational Standard Book NumberSpecial:BookSources/1-59393-055-0International Standard Book NumberSpecial:BookSources/0-922915-80-6International Standard Book NumberSpecial:BookSources/0-9677970-1-2International Standard Book NumberSpecial:BookSources/0-679-46308-9International Standard Book NumberSpecial:BookSources/97815234-025-1-9Feral HouseIMDbFind A GraveHelp:Authority ControlVirtual International Authority FileLibrary Of Congress Control NumberMusicBrainzSNACHelp:CategoryCategory:1908 BirthsCategory:1934 DeathsCategory:Accidental Deaths In CaliforniaCategory:American CroonersCategory:American Male Film ActorsCategory:American Jazz MusiciansCategory:American Male SingersCategory:American People Of Italian DescentCategory:American Pop SingersCategory:American ViolinistsCategory:Male ViolinistsCategory:Burials At Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale)Category:Deaths By Firearm In CaliforniaCategory:Firearm Accident Victims In The United StatesCategory:Musicians From Camden, New JerseyCategory:20th-century American Male ActorsCategory:20th-century ViolinistsCategory:20th-century American SingersCategory:Male Actors Of Italian DescentCategory:Articles With HCardsCategory:Find A Grave Template With ID Same As WikidataCategory:Wikipedia Articles With VIAF IdentifiersCategory:Wikipedia Articles With LCCN IdentifiersCategory:Wikipedia Articles With MusicBrainz IdentifiersCategory:Wikipedia Articles With SNAC-ID IdentifiersDiscussion About Edits From This IP Address [n]A List Of Edits Made From This IP Address [y]View The Content Page [c]Discussion About The Content Page [t]Edit This Page [e]Visit The Main Page [z]Guides To Browsing WikipediaFeatured Content – The Best Of WikipediaFind Background Information On Current EventsLoad A Random Article [x]Guidance On How To Use And Edit WikipediaFind Out About WikipediaAbout The Project, What You Can Do, Where To Find ThingsA List Of Recent Changes In The Wiki [r]List Of All English Wikipedia Pages Containing Links To This Page [j]Recent Changes In Pages Linked From This Page [k]Upload Files [u]A List Of All Special Pages [q]Wikipedia:AboutWikipedia:General Disclaimer

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