Tuesday, January 29, 2013

THE CHILDREN OF EDDIE CANTOR


One of the longest running gags during the old days of radio was Eddie Cantor and his five daughters. In reality there was no Hollywood father closer to his daughters than Cantor was. However,  Eddie would joke on radio that he is going to trade his five daughters for Bing Crosby's four sons. I wanted to look into his five daughters, and see what became of them and what they did in their lives.

MARJORIE CANTOR (1915-1959)
Marjorie was the first daughter, and although she never sought the spotlight she and her other four sisters became a big part of their father's radio act. Marjorie never married and unfortunately, Marjorie suffered a long time with cancer. After a valiant battle against the disease, she succumbed to the disease at the young age of 44. All four other sisters were with Marjorie when she passed away. Eddie and Ida were inconsolable, and they never were the same after her death.

NATALIE CANTOR METZGER (1916-1997)
Natalie was the second Cantor daughter and truly the hardest one to find information on. She was first married to a Joesph Lewis Metzger and had a son Michael on October 18, 1939. Michael was Eddie Cantor's first grandchild. The marriage ended in divorce. In 1965, Natalie married actor Robert Clary. Eddie helped to give Robert his start, and he was most widely known for his role on television's "Hogan's Heroes".

EDNA CANTOR MCHUGH (1919-2003)
Edna was the third oldest of Cantor's five daughters -- all of whom became household names during the many years the comedian starred on radio, stage, film and TV. She was previously married to theatrical manager agent Jimmy McHugh Jr., who predeceased her. He was the son of composer Jimmy McHugh. Edna never was in the limelight as much as her other sisters, but she wrote several cookbooks including "Chocolate Kicks" and "Happy Endings." Fran (Mrs. Ray) Stark credited her with finding Barbra Streisand to play the Fanny Brice role in "Funny Girl."


MARILYN CANTOR BAKER (1921-2010)
Marilyn was the fourth daughter and the one that did the most work in the field of show business. Fiercely independent and known to her friends and family as irreverently funny, she enjoyed a long and fruitful life as an actor, singer-comedienne, theatrical producer, TV writer and performer. Cantor Baker performed with her father on television's Colgate Comedy Hour, What's My Line, and in a variety of television and radio appearances. In her twenties, Cantor Baker performed a night club act at Le Ruban Bleu and Blue Angel in New York, and in the Loews Circuit, including Las Vegas. In the early 1940's, she became the first woman disc jockey in New York on WNEW radio. She created "Sidney Shore," which in 1981 became the innovative sit-com "Love, Sidney," starring Tony Randall. Cantor-Baker worked tirelessly in the 1950's and 60's to raise money for State of Israel Bonds, also narrating the Israeli fashion shows. She was married for over fifty years and left behind her husband, son, daughter, and five grandchildren when she passed away.

JANET CANTOR GARI (BORN 1927)
Janet was the youngest of Eddie's daughters, and the last surviving one. She was a songwriter who has collaborated with Toby Garson, the daughter of composer Harry Ruby, on children's shows and an off-Broadway musical. Janet was married to actor and artist Roberto Gari (1920-2008) for seventeen years, but they divorced in 1968. They remained friends their whole life. Her son, Brian Gari, is a talented performer and songwriter himself. He helps to keep his grandfather's name alive almost fifty years after Eddie's death. Her daughter, Amanda Gari, is a very popular performer on the west coast. Janet has written three books as well. My favorite of her three books is her first book. Titled "Don't Wear Silver In The Winter", it was the story of her elusive mother Ida Tobias Cantor. It was published in 2008.



8 comments:

  1. Janet Gari has written another book quite recently as well. It's about her Dad called, Themes of My Father. You can get a signed copy by emailing her (lyricook@verizon.net). They are $18 including shipping!

    Here is the link to buy Janet's new book online: http://www.bearmanormedia.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=598

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  2. This is very interesting. You must have done a lot of research for this. Thank you.

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  3. It was very hard to find info on all of them. Eddie's grandson Brian Gari contacted me and helped me correct some of the errors I did have. Eddie Cantor was a remarkable man - who deserves to be remembered, and he has a remarkable family.

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  4. I've long wondered what became of those five daughters referred to in the Eddie Cantor radio programs I listened to as a chile. Thank you for doing the research and putting this site up.

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    1. Same here. Always enjoyed Eddie on radio and TV. The question is 'Where have they all gone to'. To bad we don't have them any more or any one like them.

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  5. EDDIE CANTOR WILL ALWAYS BE REMEMBERED AS ONE OF THE GREAT SINGERS OF ALL TIMES, LIKE AL JOLSEN WHO CAN FORGET THEM.

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  6. As great an entertainer as he was, with his googly eyes and bubbly personality, his humanity and his dedication as a husband and a father was an inspiration to my own father who related his joy in having ever met and having known such a wonderful man. Steve Apelman

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  7. What happened to the son NATALIE CANTOR METZGER had before she married Robert Clary ?

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