For more than seven decades, Russ Columbo has been among the famous ghosts of Hollywood in California. People have claimed to have seen him at different places and have written or been interviewed about seeing him. A tragedy that claimed his life further fueled his legend.
Who was Russ Columbo? Under what strange circumstances did he die?
Russ Columbo was born on January 14, 1908, and died on September 2, 1934, at the age of 26. In his short lifetime he became a Hollywood legend.
Russ Columbo was more popular than either Bing Crosby or Rudy Vallee during his short singing career. He was often referred to as the original Hollywood Crooner and the Romeo of Song. A composer, singer, violinist, and actor, his records were made at RCA Victor from 1931 until his death. He debuted as a violin prodigy at age 12, and at the age of 17 during 1925, he started his career as a professional orchestra violinist. On the verge of movie fame, he was starting a career as a leading man in film and was the lover of actress Carole Lombard. Among his movies are That Goes Double (1933), Moulin Rouge (1934), and Wake Up and Dream (1934). Handsome and charismatic, he was set to become a major movie star.
While visiting a close friend, an accident involving an antique dueling pistol resulted in his death. Some stories say the dueling pistol had a curse on it. Listed as an accidental shooting death, the controversy surrounding his death still survives today.
For those who do not know the story of Russ Columbo, there is a tremendous abundance of information available about his life. His songs can be heard on CD or on the Internet. His famous face can be found anywhere there is media.
The passage of time has not dulled interest in Russ Columbo or his ghost. His death at age 26 was only the beginning.