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Rudy Vallee Biography

Rudy Vallee

Rudy Vallee started his career as a saxophone player and singer and later became a band leader. In the 1920s and early 30s he had a hit radio program, The Fleishmann's Yeast Hour (where he was hated by his cast and crew due to his explosive ego-driven personality). In the early 1930's he was ranked with the likes of Bing Crosby and the tragic Russ Columbo in the Hit Parade. A huge hit on radio in 1933 with his program, initially known as 'The Fleischmann's Yeast Hour,' Vallee was considered a slave driver by his staff. He was known to instigate fist fights with virtually anyone who got on his nerves. During the run of his show he slugged photographers, threw sheet music in the faces of pianists' heads and if provoked, would sock hecklers in the nose.
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While audiences loved him, he was hated by most of his staff. As a very popular star in night clubs and on records, as well as in movies, he helped other singers like Alice Faye - who was for a while his band singer - and Frances Langford to start their careers. In his early movies he often played the romantic lead, but he switched later to stuffy and comic parts. He also appeared on Broadway. The mid-60's Broadway hit "How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" was filmed in 1967 with him in his original Broadway role.