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Harry James

Harry JamesAKA Harry Haag James

Born: 15-Mar-1916
Birthplace: Albany, GA
Died: 5-Jul-1983
Location of death: Las Vegas, NV
Cause of death: Cancer - Lymphoma
Remains: Buried, Bunkers Eden Vale Cemetery, Las Vegas, NV

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Musician

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Big Band-era bandleader

Both a skilled trumpet-player and a popular bandleader, Harry James began playing in dance bands when he was only 15. In 1936 he was invited to join Benny Goodman's orchestra, and became so popular with audiences that when he decided to start his own band in 1938 Goodman helped to finance the venture.

Shortly after The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra began performing publicly in 1939, then-unknown singer Frank Sinatra was brought on board. The singer remained active with the band for only a year, however: finances during this period were tight, and when a more lucrative offer was given to Sinatra by Tommy Dorsey, James let him out of his contract so he could pursue it. Despite this defection, the orchestra achieved considerable popularity throughout the early 40s, in part aided by appearances in feature films such as Best Foot Forward and I'll Get By.

In 1943 James married Betty Grable, the top pin-up model in the country. Not a bad personal development, but his musical fortunes were not moving along such positive lines, and in 1946 he dissolved the orchestra. This retirement proved to be short-lived, however, and he continued performing on and off (particularly in Las Vegas) until nine days before his death in 1983.

Father: Everette James (musician)
Wife: Betty Grable (actress, m. 5-Jul-1943)

    Endorsement of Liggett Group Chesterfield cigarettes
    Risk Factors: Smoking

    The Sting II (18-Feb-1983) · Band Leader
    The Ladies' Man (28-Jun-1961) · Himself
    The Big Beat (Feb-1958) · Himself
    The Opposite Sex (26-Oct-1956) · Himself
    The Benny Goodman Story (Dec-1955) · Himself
    I'll Get By (2-Oct-1950) · Himself
    On Our Merry Way (3-Feb-1948) · Guest Star
    Carnegie Hall (28-Feb-1947) · Himself
    If I'm Lucky (2-Sep-1946) · Earl Gordon
    Do You Love Me? (17-May-1946)
    Bathing Beauty (27-Jun-1944) · Himself
    Two Girls and a Sailor (27-Apr-1944) · Himself
    Best Foot Forward (29-Jun-1943) · Himself
    Springtime in the Rockies (6-Nov-1942) · Himself
    Private Buckaroo (11-Jun-1942) · Himself
    Syncopation (22-May-1942) · Himself

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