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Published on May 30, 2011
Cliff Edwards (June 14, 1895 -- July 17, 1971), also known as "Ukulele Ike", was an American singer and voice actor who enjoyed considerable popularity in the 1920s and early 1930s, specializing in jazzy renditions of pop standards and novelty tunes. He had a number-one hit with "Singin' in the Rain" in 1929. He also did voices for animated cartoons later in his career, and is best known as the voice of Jiminy Cricket in Walt Disney's Pinocchio (1940). Edwards suffered from alcoholism and drug addiction in his later years, living in a home for indigent actors. He had disappeared from the public eye at the time of his 1971 death as a charity patient at the Virgil Convalescent Hospital in Hollywood, California. His body was initially unclaimed and donated to the University of California, Los Angeles medical school. When Walt Disney Productions, which had been quietly paying many of his medical expenses, found out about this, it offered to purchase the corpse and pay for the burial; but this was actually done by the Actors' Fund of America (which had also aided Edwards) and the Motion Picture and Television Relief Fund. The Disney company paid for his grave marker.