American Vaudeville Museum

All material © 1998-2012 American Museum of Vaudeville, Inc.† Page 65

Rudy Horn

Rudy Horn grew up in Chicago show business and he is an articulate spokesman for his generation.† His father owned a well-known nightclub that featured top acts like Ruth Etting and Ray Bolger.† Inspired by Bolger, Rudy taught himself to dance by watching the great ones.† At nine years old he won the local Amateur contest three times in a row, so a couple of year later he hit the road in pursuit of a career.†

His road trip didnít last long.† His family found him and brought him home where he remained for another two years before striking out on his own again.† This time he made it.† He recalls soda jerking with Jimmy Cagney while they auditioned for chorus jobs, and sharing digs with Dean Martin before he met Jerry Lewis.

But although everything about show business was dazzling in the early 1920s, turmoil was only a few years away.† By the time he had established himself in vaudeville, Rudy, like all of the final generation of vaudevillians, was confronted by the rise of network radio, talking pictures and the Great Depression, which toppled King Vaudeville.

Because Rudy could dance, sing, do sketch comedy and stand-up he fashioned a good career out of nightclub work as an emcee and performer.† When WWII clouded the world scene, Rudy-along with friends like John† Bubbles-went overseas and entertained the troops.† Rudy Horn remained in Europe for nearly twenty years.