Jack Pepper: Ginger Rogers’ First Partner

Jack Pepper (born Edward Jackson Culpepper this day in 1902) was a singer, dancer and uke player from Texas who (after forming part of a trio with his two sisters) first attained fame as one half of the act Salt and Pepper. After this, he married and formed a team with Ginger Rogers from 1929 to 1931, and they were indeed, Ginger and Pepper. After this, he apparently ran out of spices to get involved with.

Completely coincidentally, I saw him hosting a 1929 Movietone Revue (his first film appearance) recently. His patter was quite scattershot and poor but his singing was compelling. He was a buddy of Bob Hope’s. After a wartime stint in the USO, the last few decades of Pepper’s life seems to have been restricted to playing very small bit parts in Hope’s and other’s films. His daughter Cynthia became a successful film and television actress in the 1960s. Pepper passed away in 1979.

To find out about  the history of vaudeville and performers like Jack Pepperconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.

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