Jack Whiting: The Life of the Party


Today is the birthday of Jack Whiting (Albert Draper Whiting Jr., 1901-1961).

Originally from Philadelphia, Whiting enjoyed great success as a male juvenile on Broadway in the 1920s. One his more notable successes was Hold Everything (1928-1929) with Bert Lahr. He worked steadily on Broadway between 1922 and 1954. Whiting played the Palace during his (and the theatre’s) heyday in the 1920s, and was also one of the last acts to play there in the early to mid 30s, when it was no longer a vaunted two-a-day but a grind of several shows per, the only way to make it pay during the Depression.

He also gave a smattering of film and tv performances from the ’30s through the ’50s, though the stage remained his principal stomping ground. His first film was Top Speed (1930) with Joe E. Brown. Ironically he did not appear in the film version with Hold Everything that that also starred Brown (Lahr was passed over for the role he created). Other notable films included The Life of the Party with Winnie Lightner (1930), and  Give Me a Sailor with Bob Hope, Martha Raye and Betty Grable (1938).

He was married to Anna Beth Sully (ex wife of Douglas Fairbanks) and thus was the stepfather of Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.

To learn more about vaudevilleconsult 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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