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Artie Shaw
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Artie Shaw

Arthur Jacob Arshawsky (born May 23, 1910), better known as Artie Shaw, is an accomplished jazz clarinetist, composer, bandleader, and writer.

He was born in New York, New York and began learning the saxophone when he was 15 and by age 16 he began to tour with a band. He returned to New York City and became a session musician. During the Swing Era, his big band was very popular with hits like Begin the Beguine.

During WWII he enlisted in the U.S. Navy (along with his entire band) and served with them in the Pacific theater (similar to Glenn Miller's wartime band in Europe). He spent approximately 18 months playing for navy personnel, sometimes as many as four shows a day. He received a medical discharge.

Throughout his musical career, Shaw would take sabbaticals where he would quit the business and pursue a writing career.

Shaw was married eight times. Among them were actresses Ava Gardner and Lana Turner. He also married Betty Kern, daughter of songwriter Jerome Kern. Since 1957 he has been married to actress Evelyn Keyes.

In 1955, Shaw stopped playing the clarinet. He has since focused on writing, concentrating on semi-biographical fiction. He wrote The Trouble With Cinderella and is working on The Education of Albie Snow.

In 2004, he was presented with a lifetime achievement Grammy Award.