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Rudy Vallee

Edward Jean Steichen, 27 Mar 1879 - 25 Mar 1973
Rudy Vallee, 28 Jul 1901 - 3 Jul 1986
c. 1929
Gelatin silver print
Image: 19.3 x 24.2 cm (7 5/8 x 9 1/2")
Sheet: 20.1 x 25.3 cm (7 15/16 x 9 15/16")
Mat (Vertical): 55.9 x 40.6 cm (22 x 16")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
© The Estate of Edward Steichen / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, NY
Object number
Exhibition Label
By his own admission, crooning idol Rudy Vallee "never had much of a voice," but that did not stop him from becoming one of the nation's most popular performers. A self-taught saxophonist, Vallee formed a dance band in 1925 while working his way through Yale. He kept the ensemble intact after graduation, and soon Vallee and his Connecticut Yankees were playing to wildly enthusiastic crowds at New York's Heigh-Ho Club. After a highly successful radio debut in 1928, Vallee and his band catapulted to stardom as the featured performers on NBC radio's "Fleischmann Hour" (1929-36)-the program credited with introducing the variety show format to the airwaves. By the time his career ebbed in the 1940s, Vallee, his trademark megaphone, and twangy rendition of his signature song, "My Time Is Your Time," had become emblems of an entire era in American popular music.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
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National Portrait Gallery Collection