Received a Special Academy Award in 1956 for distinguished service to the film industry.
He invented the name "March of Dimes" for the donation campaigns of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (polio), a play on the "March of Time" newsreels. He began the first campaign on his own radio show in January 1938, asking people to mail a dime to the nation's most famous polio victim, President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Other entertainers joined in the appeal via their own shows, and the White House mail room was deluged with 2,680,000 dimes.
President of Screen Actors Guild (SAG) from 1933-1935.
At one time, when the rights to The Wizard of Oz (1939) were owned by Samuel Goldwyn, Cantor was considered for the role of the Scarecrow. Goldwyn eventually sold the rights to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
Inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2000.
Theme song: "One Hour With You."
Father of Marilyn Cantor Baker, Marjorie Cantor, Natalie Cantor, Edna Cantor McHugh and Janet Cantor Gari
Biography in: "Who's Who in Comedy" by Ronald L. Smith. Pg. 89-91. New York: Facts on File, 1992. ISBN 0816023387
Both his parents died before he was a year old, and he was adopted and raised by his maternal grandmother, Esther Lazarowitz Kantrowitz, who died on January 29, 1917, two days before he signed a long-term contract with Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. to appear in his "Follies". "Kantrowitz" was the name mistakenly assigned to the boy instead of his actual name, Iskowitz, by a public school registrar. It was shortened to Cantor. Eddie was the nickname given him by his girlfriend, Ida Tobias, whom he later married (See Ida Tobias Cantor).
Father-in-law of Robert Clary.
Often ate the breakfast staple cornflakes and milk for dinner at fancy restaurants. It had been the foodstuff he could afford as an up-and-coming comedian, and due to some personal quirk, he preferred it even after he was rich and famous.
Grandfather of Brian Gari and Judy McHugh
Great-grandfather of Lee Newman.
Brother-in-law of Nettie Tobias.
Following his financial loss in the stock market crash of 1929, Eddie Cantor wrote a short humorous book entitled, "Caught Short."
He was awarded 3 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Motion Pictures at 6648 Hollywood Boulevard; for Television at 1710 Vine Street; and for Radio at 6765 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
Cantor joined the NY actor's club, The Lambs, in 1923. He was the first president of the radio union, AFRA, in 1937.
Cantor reportedly received 3200 write-in votes for President in 1928 in an election won by Herbert Hoover. In another year he received over 1000 write-ins for Governor of New Jersey.
Taking his show on a national tour, he was preparing to open one night at a theater in Minneapolis, in which every seat had been sold. Shortly before the show was to begin that night, a terrific snowstorm hit Minneapolis, effectively shutting the city down, and of the hundreds of people who had bought tickets to see the show, only seven managed to make it to the theater. When the management wanted to cancel the show and refund the patrons' money, Cantor refused, saying, "These people have paid their money to come and see me, and that's what they're going to get". So he put on the full show--elaborate musical numbers, sketches, dancing girls, comics, etc.--for an audience of just seven people.
He was a president of the Screen Actors Guild and in 1963 was the first recipient of a Screen Actors Guild Award. The following year Stan Laurel became the second recipient.