In several of his early films, his voice and violin were overdubbed to create the illusion that various popular entertainers were musical. Eventually, he did obtain some feature work in front of the camera, but he slowed down his activities in cinema to pursue other interests. Columbo tried to run a nightclub for a while, but the venture was unsuccessful. In 1931, he traveled to New York with his manager, songwriter Con Conrad. Conrad secured a late-night radio slot with NBC.
This led to numerous engagements, a recording contract with RCA Victor records, and tremendous popularity with legions of mostly female fans. The type of singing that was popularized by the likes of Columbo, Rudy Vallee, and Bing Crosby is called crooning. Columbo disliked the label, but it caught on with the general public. It gained popular credence, despite its initial use as a term of derision for the singers employing their low, soothing voices in romantic songs. On September 2, 1934, Columbo was shot under peculiar circumstances by his longtime friend, photographer Lansing Brown.
Columbo was visiting him at the studio one day. In lighting a cigarette, Brown lit the match by striking it against the wooden stock of an antique French dueling pistol. The flame set off a long-forgotten charge in the gun, and a lead pistol ball was fired. The pistol ball ricocheted off a nearby table and hit Columbo in the left eye, killing him almost instantly.
Columbo's death was ruled an accident, and Brown exonerated from blame. His mother was never told of his death. Family and friends made her believe that her son was on a world tour by sending postcards addressed from Russ. She lived the remaining 10 years of her life thinking he was still alive. Russ Columbo is interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. (www.en.wikipedia.org) Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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