Today's Articles

People, Locations, Episodes

Wed, 06.20.1906

Bob Howard, Comedian, and Singer born

Bob Howard

Bob Howard was born on this date in 1906. He was a Black pianist, comedian, and actor on the Broadway stage, radio, and television.

Born Howard Joyner in West Newton, MA., he attended and dropped out of Howard University Medical School and later enrolled in the New England Conservatory of Music. During his early years in vaudeville, he was the piano-playing member of Joyner and Hopkins (Morris Hopkins was a dancer). In 1943, Howard appeared on Broadway in "Early to Bed." He also worked in radio from 1938 to 1975, with his own programs on WEAF, WCBS, and WHN. He was one of the first Black performers on television, with his own 15-minute show on CBS from July 1948 to December 1951.

His film credits include "Howard's House Party," "Junction 88, and "Stars on Parade." Howard's career took him to Europe, Japan, and across the United States. His popularity with the general public came largely because he followed in the footsteps of Fats Waller.  Although he lacked originality, it was covered in skilled musicianship and easygoing rapport with audiences. From time to time, Howard played and sometimes recorded with jazzmen but it was as a jazz-tinged popular singer and player that he made his mark.

His singing voice varied according to material and mood, ranging from tenor to baritone, from robustness to coy meanderings. During a period when he led a band that emulated Cab Calloway's, Howard employed good musicians but habitually yelled encouragement at inappropriate moments, his exhortations getting in the way of their solos. Bob Howard continued playing the piano and singing at various nightclubs and restaurants until his death on December 3, 1986.


All Media Guide
1168 Oak Valley Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48108 USA

New Poem Each Day

Poetry Corner

Your door is shut against my tightened face, And I am sharp as steel with discontent; But I possess the courage and the grace To bear my anger proudly... THE WHITE HOUSE by Claude McKay.
Read More