Wonga Philip Harris (Linton, January 1904 - Rancho Mirage, August 1995) was an American drummer, singer and big bandleader from the swingera. He was also actor: a short film in which he played himself, got an Oscar in 1934.
Harris was the son of two circus artists and grew up in Nashville. He played drums in the circus band of his father. In the 1920s he was a drummer in the bands of Francis Craig and Henry Halstead. After that he formed with pianist Carl Lofner a private Orchestra, which was for a long time the resident orchestra of St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. He played drums and sang In the group. Harris and Lofner separated in 1932, after which the Orchestra took over Harris ' ' and as home to Los Angeleschose. In 1933, he made a short film for RKO, So This is Harris!, a film that got an Oscar in 1934 for best short subject (comedy). Then followed the long movie ' Melody Cruise. Both films were created by the same team, which in 1933 was responsible for Flying Down to Rio, the movie in which for the first time Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers appeared on the silver screen as a dancing couple. Harris Later had a role in "The High and the Mighty ' with John Wayne.
Harris also did radio work with his Orchestra. In 1936 he became musical director of the show Jack Benny 's (later The Jack Benny Program), where he replaced Don Bestor . He was an important element in the radio show, where he became as a comic talent. Harris worked until 1946 for Benny. As band leader took Harris of december 1936 to March 1937 different plates on for Vocalion.
In 1941 married Harris for the second time, now with actress Alice Faye. In 1942, Harris with his band service in the u.s. Navy. After the war, Harris and Faye asked to take part in the radio program the Fitch bandwagon, a show for big bands (1946-1948). The program changed slowly into the comic show the Phil Harris-Alice Faye show (1948-1954).
Harris had in the 1940s and 1950s several novelty hits, including "that's what I Like About the South" and "The Thing" (in 1950). He did to television work in the 1970s and did the voice of Baloo the Bear in Jungle Book. He also gave voice to some other Walt Disney characters.
Discography[edit | edit source]
- Phil Harris, SWG
- Echoes from the Cocoanut Grove, Take Two
- Phil Harris and alice Faye Show, Cliff hanger
- On the Record, RCA Victor