Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
Born in Jackson, OH, on September 26, 1889, Frank Crumit developed his skills as a comedic actor, singer, and ukulele player while enrolled at the University of Ohio. In 1912, he narrowly avoided a future in engineering by becoming a singer with Paul Biese's Orchestra, first in Chicago and then in New York. Soon Crumit was touring in vaudeville, performing his own original songs and routines under the heading of "the One-Man Glee Club." His first appearance on Broadway was in the Greenwich Village Follies of 1919. Subsequent stage successes included Betty Be Good (1920), Tangerine (1921), the Ziegfeld Follies of 1923, the Gershwin brothers' Oh, Kay, Lewis Gensler's Queen High, and, in 1924, Con Conrad's Moonlight. In 1927, Crumit was married to Julia Sanderson, an actress and ex-chorus girl with whom he had worked in various shows beginning with Tangerine. The pair began performing over the radio in 1929 as "the Singing Sweethearts" and continued their broadcast collaborations until 1942.
Crumit's career as a phonographic recording artist began in 1919 and ended in 1941, leaving in its wake an estimated 250 performances. Initially signed by Columbia, he switched to Victor in 1924, becoming quite popular over the next few years for his clever novelty songs delivered in a succinct and somewhat glib manner while strumming on his little ukulele. In 1931, the Singing Sweethearts recorded a duet version of Harry Warren's "Would You Like to Take a Walk?" for Victor. In 1932 and 1933, Crumit waxed a number of sides that were released exclusively in England, then switched over to Decca in 1934. Soon after recording "There's No One with Endurance Like the Man Who Sells Insurance," Crumit eased himself out of the entertainment racket, maintaining only modest involvement in radio and peripheral contact with the theatrical community in New York. Crumit passed away in Longmeadow, MA, on September 7, 1943, just 16 days short of his 55th birthday.