Rudy Vallée was an American singer, musician, actor, and radio host who is considered by many to be the first modern American teen idol and pop star. After playing drums in his high school band, Vallée played clarinet and saxophone in bands around New England as a teenager. From 1924 to 1925, he played with the Savoy Havana Band at the Savoy Hotel in London and upon return to the states he graduated with a degree in philosophy from Yale University. After graduation, he formed Rudy Vallée and the Connecticut Yankees, having named himself after saxophonist Rudy Wiedoeft. With this band (formed in 1928), which included two violins, two saxophones, a piano, a banjo, and drums, he started singing. He had a thin, wavering tenor voice and seemed more at home singing sweet ballads than jazz songs. But his singing, suave manner, and boyish good looks attracted attention, especially from young women. In the 1920s and early '30s he had a hit radio program, The Fleishmann's Yeast Hour (although his explosive, ego-driven personality made his cast and crew hate him). In the early 1930s he was ranked with the likes of Bing Crosby and the tragic Russ Columbo in the Hit Parade. A huge hit on radio in 1933 with his program Vallee was considered a bastard by his staff. He was known to instigate fist fights with virtually anyone who got on his nerves. During his show's run he slugged photographers, threw sheet music at pianists' heads, and socked hecklers in their noses. While audiences loved him, most of his staff hated him. As a very popular star in nightclubs, on records, and in movies, he helped other singers, such as Alice Faye--who was his band singer for a while--and Frances Langford to start their careers. In his early movies he often played the romantic lead, but later he switched to stuffy and comic parts and later also appeared on Broadway. In his final years Rudy took a turn at performing standup comedy ... badly.
His vacation home in Palm Springs is located at 475 S Vía Las Palmas, Palm Springs, California.
As Vallée lay dying from throat cancer, while watching the televised centennial ceremonies of the restored Statue of Liberty he turned to his wife Eleanor and said, “I wish we could be there; you know how I love a party” and then passed away at his home in Los Angeles.
In November 1957, shortly before her marriage to Mickey Hargitay, Mansfield bought a 40-room Mediterranean-style mansion formerly owned by Rudy Vallée at 10100 Sunset Boulevard in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles. Mansfield had the house painted pink, with cupids surrounded by pink fluorescent lights, pink furs in the bathrooms, a pink heart-shaped bathtub, and a fountain spurting pink champagne, and then dubbed it the “Pink Palace”. The Pink Palace was sold after her death and its subsequent owners have included Ringo Starr and Engelbert Humperdinck. In 2002, Humperdinck sold it to developers, and the house was demolished in November of that year.