Jimmy Durante

Celebrities, Celebrity Q&A, People
on July 30, 2009

Who was Jimmy Durante’s "Mrs. Calabash"?
—J.W. Knox, Schenectady, N.Y.

Durante, whose career as a singer, actor and comedian stretched across much of the 20th century, frequently signed off his radio and TV appearances  saying, "Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are." As author David Bakish explained in the biography Jimmy Durante: His Show Business Career, the famous big-nosed comic started using the name to close out his shows after he saw producer Phil Cohan smoking a calabash pipe. For years afterward, he gave a variety of explanations about the name, finally admitting that it was his way of saying good night to his late wife, Jeanne.