Al Jolson was an American singer, film actor, and comedian. At the peak of his career, he was dubbed "The World's Greatest Entertainer".
His performing style was brash and extroverted, and he popularized a large number of songs that benefited from his "shamelessly sentimental, melodramatic approach". Numerous well-known singers were influenced by his music, including Bing Crosby David Bowie, Bob Dylan and others; Dylan once referred to him as "somebody whose life I can feel". Broadway critic Gilbert Seldes compared him to the Greek god Pan, claiming that Jolson represented "the concentration of our national health and gaiety."
In the 1930s he was America's most famous and highest-paid entertainer. Between 1911 and 1928, Jolson had nine sell-out Winter Garden shows in a row, more than 80 hit records, and 16 national and international tours. Although he is best remembered today as the star of the first 'talking picture', The Jazz Singer, he later starred in a series of successful musical films throughout the 1930s. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, he was the first star to entertain troops overseas during World War II.