Authentic Wisconsin.  Rowland Bernard "Bunny" Berigan

Bunny Berrigan born in Hilbert, Wisconsin.

Rowland Bernard "Bunny" Berigan - American jazz trumpeter; born November 2, 1908 in Hilbert, Wisconsin and raised in Fox Lake, Wisconsin. At the end of his sophomore year in the Fox Lake High School, Berigan transferred to Madison and attended Wisconsin High School (a laboratory school of the University of Wisconsin that he left before graduating with credits for approximately the 11th grade. Note: also attended by Wisconsinite Uta Hagen). In Madison he connected with his uncle, "Big Bob" Berigan, who played drums in local bands. Although not a student, Berigan played with the University of Wisconsin jazz group and played in pit orchestras at the Orpheum and Capital Theaters on Madison's State Street. Berigan also played in dance bands, at fraternity dances and at the Campus Soda Grill.

He rose to fame during the swing era with his virtuoso jazz trumpeting for big bands like the Hal Kemp orchestra, Tommy Dorsey and the Benny Goodman Band. Berigan started a band of his own in 1937 and chose "I Can't Get Started" (lyrics by Ira Gershwin and music by Vernon Duke) as his theme song. Berrigan's career was shortened by a losing battle with alcoholism that ended with his early death at age 33 from cirrhosis in 1942. His 1937 classic jazz recording "I Can't Get Started" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1975.

Berigan died tragically at the age of 33 due to alcoholism and cirrhosis of the liver.

For more information on Bunny Berigan, visit Wikipedia.

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Famous Wisconsinites

Bunny Berigan.

Rowland Bernard "Bunny" Berigan
Bunny Berigan's 1937 recording of "I Can't Get Started" was used in the film Save the Tiger (1973), the Roman Polanski film Chinatown (1974), and a Martin Scorsese short film, The Big Shave (1967).

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