If any performer can truly be said to have carved out his own comedic turf, made a huge success out of it lasting over several decades, while completely owning that piece of turf lock, stock, and barrel, then that performer would have to be Jimmy Durante. There never has been -- nor is there likely ever to be -- a stylistic school of Durante; the man and his character are of one piece and ingrained in the national consciousness to the extreme. Anyone foolish enough to start appropriating any part of his act would be immediately branded as a slavish imitator -- someone just merely "doing Durante" -- while always being doomed to comparison with the one and only real-deal "Schnozzola" and again, falling well short of the mark. On the surface, Durante's mega-success defied all commonly understood show business laws. No one with such a ...
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