Known for movies

Short Info

DiedDecember 30, 2004, Thousand Oaks, California, United States
SpouseEvelyn Keyes, Doris Dowling, Kathleen Winsor, Ava Gardner, Elizabeth Kern, Lana Turner, Margaret Allen, Jane Cairns
MarkTheme song: "Nightmare"
FactWas the son-in-law of composer Jerome Kern while married to Kern's daughter Elizabeth

Artie Shaw was an American clarinetist, composer, bandleader, and actor. He was one of the most popular musicians of his time, and his recordings were best-sellers from the late 1930s through the early 1960s. Shaw’s signature tune was “Begin the Beguine”, which he recorded with his Gramercy Five in 1938. Other hits included “Stardust”, “Back Bay Shuffle”, and “Moonglow”. He also wrote the scores for several Hollywood films, including Second Chorus and The Big Broadcast of 1938. Shaw was born Arthur Jacob Arshawsky on May 23, 1910, in New York City.

His parents were Jewish immigrants from Russia. His father, Abraham Arshawsky, was a tailor, and his mother, Sarah (née Blumberg), was a seamstress. Shaw grew up in a poor tenement on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. He began playing the clarinet at age 15 after hearing a band perform in his neighborhood. He left school at age 16 to join the United States Navy, but he was discharged after only a few months due to a heart murmur.

He returned to New York and began playing in nightclubs and dance halls. He soon became one of the most popular musicians in the city. In 1936, Shaw formed his first band, the Gramercy Five. The group became known for its innovative arrangements of popular tunes. Shaw’s arrangement of “Begin the Beguine” was particularly successful.

The song became a hit, and the Gramercy Five’s recording of it was one of the best-selling records of the 1930s. Shaw disbanded the group in 1939 and formed a new band, the Artie Shaw Orchestra. The orchestra was one of the most popular bands of the 1940s. It featured such singers as Helen Forrest, Billie Holiday, and Mel Tormé. The band’s recordings of “Stardust” and “Back Bay Shuffle” were million-sellers.

Shaw disbanded the orchestra in 1945 and retired from music for several years. He returned to performing in the late 1950s with a new band, the Artie Shaw Orchestra. The band toured extensively and made several recordings. Shaw retired from music again in 1968. He died in 2004 at the age of 94..

General Info

Full NameArtie Shaw
DiedDecember 30, 2004, Thousand Oaks, California, United States
ProfessionActor, Author, Bandleader, Music Arranger, Film Score Composer, Clarinetist


SpouseEvelyn Keyes, Doris Dowling, Kathleen Winsor, Ava Gardner, Elizabeth Kern, Lana Turner, Margaret Allen, Jane Cairns
ChildrenJonathan Shaw, Steven Kern
ParentsHarry Arshawsky, Sarah Strauss


AwardsGrammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Grammy Hall of Fame
NominationsAcademy Award for Best Original Song, Academy Award for Best Original Musical
MoviesSecond Chorus, Artie Shaw: Time Is All You've Got, Big Band: Artie Shaw & Duke Ellington, Hollywood Rhythm: Vol. 2: The Best of Big Band & Swing, Swing! Swing! Swing!, Jazz Ball, Hollywood Rhythm: Vol. 1: The Best of Jazz & Blues, The Boys Are Back in Town: Classic Tracks from the Gentle...

Social profile links


#Marks / Signs
1Theme song: "Nightmare"


1[on Ava Gardner] Ava has been completely victimized by the kind of life she has led, and as a result has become the kind of person she is today.
2I did all you can do with a clarinet. Any more would have been less.
3I could never understand why people wanted to dance to my music. I made it good enough to listen to.
4Benny Goodman played clarinet. I played music.
5You have no idea of the women I didn't marry.
6[on why he left fame behind in 1954] It's like having a gangrenous arm. The only thing you can do is amputate it. Obviously you're gonna miss the arm, but if you don't cut it off you'll die.


1His father was a Russian Jewish immigrant and his mother was an Austrian Jewish immigrant.
2The length of time that three of his eight marriages lasted--including the those to superstars Lana Turner and Ava Gardner--was under three years, total.
3He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 1709 Vine Street in Hollywood, California.
4In the 1960s he dabbled in independent film distribution under his banner Artixo Productions, releasing several films including the classic Seance on a Wet Afternoon (1964).
5Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume 7, 2003-2005, pages 506-509. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2007.
6Father of Jonathan Shaw, born in 1954, from his marriage to Doris Dowling. He is now a famous tattoo artist who owned Manhattan's oldest tattoo parlor until 2004.
7Winner of a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award, 2004.
8Was the son-in-law of composer Jerome Kern while married to Kern's daughter Elizabeth
9Inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame in 1990.
10Jazz clarinetist and bandleader.
11His paintings continue to be shown, at venues like Webster Hall in New York City.




Live by Night2016performer: "Moonglow"
Allied2016writer: "Concerto For Clarinet", "Concerto for Clarinet"
Danny Says2015Documentary performer: "Begin the Beguine"
422013performer: "Moon Glow"
American Horror Story2011TV Series writer - 1 episode
Mildred Pierce2011TV Mini-Series performer - 1 episode
Robert Williams Mr. Bitchin'2010Documentary performer: "Begin the Beguine"
Soul Kitchen2009performer: "La Paloma"
Grey Gardens2009TV Movie performer: "All the Things You Are"
Hollywood Singing and Dancing: A Musical History - The 1930s: Dancing Away the Great Depression2009Video documentary music: "Concerto for Clarinet" - uncredited
Tres caminos2008"My heart stood still", "This time the dream is on me"
Midnight Son2007Short performer: "Moonglow"
Flags of Our Fathers2006performer: "Summit Ridge Drive" / writer: "Summit Ridge Drive"
The Sopranos2004-2006TV Series performer - 2 episodes
Ask the Dust2006performer: "Gloomy Sunday"
Wristcutters: A Love Story2006performer: "Gloomy Sunday"
The Notorious Bettie Page2005performer: "I Surrender, Dear"
The Aviator2004writer: "Nightmare" 1937
Livshunger2002TV Series 1 episode
Gloomy Sunday1999"Gloomy Sunday"
Treasure Island1999/I"Nightmare"
The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg1998Documentary performer: "Begin the Beguine"
Such a Long Journey1998performer: "The Donkey Serenade"
The Impostors1998performer: "I'm Comin' Virginia"
Lolita1997performer: "Stardust"
I Love You, Don't Touch Me!1997performer: "Special Delivery Stomp" / writer: "Special Delivery Stomp"
The Joust1994Short performer: "BEGINE THE BEGUINE"
My Girl1991performer: "Moonglow"
The Lunch Date1989Short "I Don't Want To Walk Without You"
Funkiksen liekki1989Documentary short performer: "Begin the Beguine"
Frank's Place1987TV Series performer - 1 episode
Radio Days1987performer: "Frenesi" 1939
Raging Bull1980performer: "Frenesi"
The Man Who Fell to Earth1976performer: "Star Dust"
Aloha, Bobby and Rose1975performer: "Begin the Beguine"
The Five Pennies1959music: "Back Bay Shuffle" 1938 - uncredited
The Big Store1941lyrics: "If It's You" 1941 / music: "If It's You" 1941
Second Chorus1940music: "Everything's Jumping" uncredited, "Would You Like to Be the Love of My Life", "Double Mellow" uncredited, "Would You Like to Be the Love of My Life" reprise, "Concerto for Clarinet" uncredited / performer: "Everything's Jumping" uncredited, "Would You Like to Be the Love of My Life", "I'm Yours" uncredited, "Double Mellow" uncredited, "Concerto for Clarinet" uncredited
Artie Shaw's Class in Swing1939Short performer: "Free Wheeling", "I Have Eyes", "Shoot The Likker To Me John Boy"
Symphony of Swing1939Short performer: "Alone Together", "Jeepers Creepers", "Deep Purple", "Lady Be Good" - uncredited
Dancing Co-Ed1939performer: "Gangbusters" - uncredited / writer: "Nightmare" 1938, "Non-Stop Flight" 1937, "Gangbusters", "Traffic Jam" 1939, "Double Mellow" - uncredited
Artie Shaw and His Orchestra1939Short performer: "Nightmare", "Begin the Beguine", "Let's Stop the Clock", "Non-Stop Flight", "Pross Tchai" / writer: "Nightmare", "Non-Stop Flight"


Crash1978TV MovieElderly Passenger
Police Woman1975TV Series
McCloud1973TV SeriesFire Chief
Second Chorus1940Artie Shaw
Dancing Co-Ed1939Artie Shaw
The Yacht Party1932ShortOrchestra Member (uncredited)


Artie Shaw: Time Is All You've Got1985Documentary
Second Chorus1940

Music Department

Pociag1959theme: "Moon Ray"


Robert Williams Mr. Bitchin'2010DocumentaryHimself
Sinatra: Dark Star2005TV Movie documentaryHimself
American Masters1986-2004TV Series documentaryHimself - Musician / Bandleader / Himself, swing band leader
Artie Shaw: Quest for Perfection2003TV Movie documentaryHimself
Begin the Beguine2003Video documentary shortHimself
Walk on By: The Story of Popular Song2001TV Series documentaryHimself
Jazz2001TV Mini-Series documentaryHimself
Dreaming of a White Christmas the Life & Music of Irving Berlin1993TV Movie documentaryHerself
Artie Shaw: Time Is All You've Got1985DocumentaryHimself
Bix: 'Ain't None of Them Play Like Him Yet'1981DocumentaryHimself - Interviewee
Hollywood Greats1978TV Series documentaryHimself
All You Need Is Love1977TV Series documentaryHimself
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson1962-1973TV SeriesHimself / Himself - Guest
The Mike Douglas Show1970-1971TV SeriesHimself / Himself - Bandleader / Himself - Musician / ...
The David Frost Show1969-1970TV SeriesHimself / Himself - Guest Host
That Regis Philbin Show1964TV SeriesHimself
Your First Impression1963TV SeriesHimself - Guest
The Jack Paar Tonight Show1962TV SeriesHimself
The Tonight Show1962TV SeriesHimself - Clarinetist
The Jackie Gleason Show1953TV SeriesHimself - Clarinetist
What's My Line?1950-1952TV SeriesHimself - Guest Panelist / Himself - Mystery Guest
Adventures in Jazz1949TV SeriesHimself
Artie Shaw's Class in Swing1939ShortHimself
Symphony of Swing1939ShortHimself
Artie Shaw and His Orchestra1939ShortHimself - Bandleader

Archive Footage

Io sono Tony Scott, ovvero come l'Italia fece fuori il più grande clarinettista del jazz2010DocumentaryHimself
Great Performances2005TV SeriesHimself
Broadway: The American Musical2004TV Mini-Series documentaryHimself
Reputations2001TV Series documentaryHimself
Biography1997TV Series documentaryHimself
Jazz Ball1956TV Movie documentaryHimself
From the Ends of the Earth1939Documentary shortHimself


Nominated Awards

1941OscarAcademy Awards, USABest Music, Original SongSecond Chorus (1940)
1941OscarAcademy Awards, USABest Music, ScoreSecond Chorus (1940)

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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