Biography

Harry James was born in a rundown hotel next to the city jail in Albany, Georgia. His mother and father were members of a circus - she as a trapeze artist and he a band leader - with the Mighty Haag Circus. At seven, they settled in Beaumont, Texas where Harry learned yo play drums. By twelve, he was playing trumpet in the Christy Brothers circus band. In 1936 James joined Ben Pollack's band, soon leaving to lead the brass section of Benny Goodman's band. He even once applied to Lawrence Welk's band but was turned down because they said he played too loud and it was not Welk's style. After three years with Goodman, he wanted to leave, and with Goodman's backing, he formed the Music Makers. In 1943 he married pinup queen Betty Grable, his second of four wives. He had earlier married and divorced Louise Tobin, a singer. Grable kept appearing in movies and Harry kept playing while they raised horses. He made his debut in Philadelphia at the Ben Franklin Hotel and soon was a nationwide favorite of dance lovers and jazz addicts, rocking the rafters at the Hollywood Paladium, Chicago's famous College Inn at the Hotel Sherman, Frank Dailey's Meadowbrook in Cedar Cove, NJ, and then onto New York City. It was the Lincoln Hotel in NYC that the Music Makers called home, but James also starred at the Paramount Theater in the spring of 1943, with thousands of teenagers flocking to see him. His version of You Made Me Love You was a big hit and a favorite of many through the war years. James was a great discoverer of talent, finding Frank Sinatra working as a waiter in a New Jersey restaurant and giving him a job singing in his band. Dick Haymes, Kitty Kallen, Connie Haines and Helen Forrest can all thank James for giving them their first real break. In 1963 his band was featured at Disneyland, still known as the Music Makers. He played his last gig at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles on June 26, 1983, just a few days before dying of lymphatic cancer.

Harry James was born in a rundown hotel next to the city jail in Albany, Georgia. His mother and father were members of a circus - she as a trapeze artist and he a band leader - with the Mighty Haag Circus. At seven, they settled in Beaumont, Texas where Harry learned yo play drums. By twelve, he was playing trumpet in the Christy Brothers circus band. In 1936 James joined Ben Pollack's band, soon leaving to lead the brass section of Benny Goodman's band. He even once applied to Lawrence Welk's band but was turned down because they said he played too loud and it was not Welk's style. After three years with Goodman, he wanted to leave, and with Goodman's backing, he formed the Music Makers. In 1943 he married pinup queen Betty Grable, his second of four wives. He had earlier married and divorced Louise Tobin, a singer. Grable kept appearing in movies and Harry kept playing while they raised horses. He made his debut in Philadelphia at the Ben Franklin Hotel and soon was a nationwide favorite of dance lovers and jazz addicts, rocking the rafters at the Hollywood Paladium, Chicago's famous College Inn at the Hotel Sherman, Frank Dailey's Meadowbrook in Cedar Cove, NJ, and then onto New York City. It was the Lincoln Hotel in NYC that the Music Makers called home, but James also starred at the Paramount Theater in the spring of 1943, with thousands of teenagers flocking to see him. His version of You Made Me Love You was a big hit and a favorite of many through the war years. James was a great discoverer of talent, finding Frank Sinatra working as a waiter in a New Jersey restaurant and giving him a job singing in his band. Dick Haymes, Kitty Kallen, Connie Haines and Helen Forrest can all thank James for giving them their first real break. In 1963 his band was featured at Disneyland, still known as the Music Makers. He played his last gig at the Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles on June 26, 1983, just a few days before dying of lymphatic cancer.

Personal Info

Known For Acting

Gender Male

Known Credits 31

Birthday 1916-03-15

Day of Death 1983-07-05

Place of Birth Albany, Georgia, USA

Official Site -

Also Known As

  • Harry Haag James

Acting TV ShowsMovies

2017 This Is Bob Hope... as Himself (archive footage)
1994 That's Entertainment! III as (archive footage)
1983 The Sting II as Band Leader
1976 That's Entertainment, Part II as (archive footage)
1964 The Hollywood Palace (1 episode)
1961 The Ladies Man as Harry James
1957 The Lucy–Desi Comedy Hour (1 episode)
1957 Outlaw Queen as Rick Mason
1956 The Opposite Sex as Harry James
1956 The Dinah Shore Chevy Show (1 episode)
1953 How to Marry a Millionaire as Radio Trumpeter (uncredited)
1950 I'll Get By as Harry James
1950 Cavalcade of Bands (9 episodes)
1948 The Ed Sullivan Show (3 episodes)
1948 On Our Merry Way as Harry James
1947 Carnegie Hall as Harry James
1946 If I'm Lucky as Earl Gordon
1946 Do You Love Me as Barry Clayton
1945 The All-Star Bond Rally
1944 Bathing Beauty as Harry James
1944 Two Girls and a Sailor as Leader of His Orchestra
1944 The Shining Future as Self
1943 Swing Fever as Harry James
1943 Best Foot Forward as Himself
1943 Une vie de chien
1942 Springtime in the Rockies as Harry James
1942 Private Buckaroo as Harry James
1942 Syncopation as Harry James
1940 Too Many Girls as Orchestra Leader
1937 Hollywood Hotel as Benny Goodman Trumpeter (uncredited)

Sound

1950 Young Man with a Horn Music Consultant

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