16 January 1904, Linton, Indiana, USA, d. 11 August 1995, Rancho Mirage, California, USA. A highly individual singer, band leader, actor, and comedian, as a boy Harris was taught to play a number of instruments by his father, who was a vaudeville musician. Raised in Nashville, Tennessee, he played the drums with Francis Craigs orchestra before forming his own Dixie Syncopators and performing throughout the south. While fronting various outfits on tour and at prestige venues such as the Cocoanut Grove in Los Angeles in the late 20s and early 30s, Harris created a great impression with his fine band and slick, comedy vocals. He made his film debut in RKOs So This Is Harris, which won the 1932/3 Academy Award for Best Short Subject (Comedy). In 1934 he was on radio with Lets Listen To Harris, but his big break came two years later when he joined the popular Jack Benny radio programme as a the leader of a 25-piece orchestra. Almost immediately, he...
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