Jean Bedini: Juggler, Gave Eddie Cantor His Start

Best known today as a footnote in the career of Eddie Cantor, Jean Bedini (ca. 1880-1955) began his career as a juggler who was teamed up with Roy Arthur shortly after the turn of the last century. Bedini was the only actual juggler in the act, Arthur was just a blackface stooge who brought him props. (Cantor, an old neighbor of Arthur’s, was later brought in as yet another blackface stooge, and was eventually fired for upstaging Bedini, the star). Bedini later became a producer of burlesque revues on the Columbia Wheel, and is credited with giving boosts to the careers of Clark and McCullough, Joe Cook, Ted Healy, and George White (he of the Scandals). Bedini was still producing in the early 1940s, and still performing for years after that.

To find out more about these variety artists and the history of vaudevilleconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.



5 Responses to “Jean Bedini: Juggler, Gave Eddie Cantor His Start”

  1. Dear Trav S.D.
    Are you planning on coming out with an updated version of your book?
    It seems you have added so much since it was published.
    Have you read ‘American Vaudeville as Ritual’ by Albert F. McLean?


    • Hey, Jim! Yes, I love “American Vaudeville as Ritual” — that guy is very insightful. Ahead of his time, really. I’ll write to you offline about your other question.


    • I like your blog a lot, by the way! I’m overdue to link to it and tell others — will try to do that today


  2. Do you have any additional information, photos, etc about Jean Bedini? He was my great-great grandfather, and it’s tough to find anything about him, other than a story and a signed photo from my grandmother. Thanks for your help.


    • I don’t, I’m afraid, hence this rather meager post. But I’m working on it for you. I just reached out to a friend who’s the go-to lady for all things juggling in New York, and asked her to put the word out. I bet we’ll uncover something. Nice to hear from you!


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