Though his fame didn't outlast the Depression era, Harry Richman was one of the top entertainers of the Jazz Age, a nightclub act with a flamboyant style often compared to Al Jolson. A period star of Broadway and the silver screen, he also earned notices for his hobby, aviation; he set a world record for altitude in 1935, and made the first transatlantic round trip in a single-engine plane. Born Harold Reichman, he started in vaudeville -- with a two-man act, as a comedian, and then with a song-and-dance number -- and played theaters from Chicago to San Francisco. Moving east by the early '20s, he and his piano backed Nora Bayes and Mae West, and his Broadway debut came in 1922's Queen o' Hearts. Richman's real breakout came in 1926; George White's Scandals of 1926 became a big hit, thanks in large part to his popular performance, "Birth ...
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Puttin' on the Ritz 2002 Puttin' on the Ritz
 
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