Jimmy Durante (the youngest son of Italian immigrants from Salerno) was born on the Lower East Side of New York City on 10 February 1893. He was a pianist, actor, comedian, composer, and singer, remembered for hoarse voice and his oversized nose.
For this feature he was nicknamed “The Schnozzola”, Italianization of the American Yiddish slang word schnoz (big nose).
This caused him to be mocked for his looks as a child, at school, and made him state:
“I was hurt so deep that I made up my mind never to hurt anybody else, no matter what. I never made jokes about anybody’s big ears, their stut-terin’, or about them bein’ off their nut.” (1)
Two famous quotes from him are:
“Be nice to people on your way up, because you’re going to meet them all on your way down.” (2)
“Politics is developing more comedians than radio ever did.”(3)
(1) Sono stato ferito così profondamente che ho deciso di non ferire mai nessun altro, per nessun motivo. Non ho deriso qualcuno perché aveva le orecchie grandi di qualcuno, balbettava o era fuori di testa.
(2) Sii gentile con le persone che incontri mentre stai salendo, perché sono le stesse che incontrerai scendendo.
(3) La politica sta sviluppando più comici di quanto non abbia mai fatto la radio.