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Yogi Yorgesson


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Harry Stewart (October 21, 1908 – May 20, 1956) was an American comedian and singer, who often performed as Yogi Yorgesson, a comically exaggerated Swedish-American.

Stewart was born in Tacoma, Washington to parents Hans and Elise Skarbo who had immigrated to the U.S. from Norway. After his mother’s death, he was adopted by the Stewart family.

In 1927, Stewart was given the job of announcer, weather reporter, news man and banjo player on KVI, a radio station recently started in Tacoma, Washington. Stewart developed the fictional character of Yogi Yorgesson while appearing on the Al Pearce radio show from 1934 to 1937. He then began performing a comedy routine as Yogi Yorgesson in nightclubs. Yogi Yorgesson was originally portrayed as a Hindu mystic from Stockholm, Sweden, but in time his crystal ball act was abandoned in favor of more homespun humor.

Stewart debuted as a singer in 1948 when he released two songs as Yogi Yorgesson. These proved to be so successful that Capitol Records purchased the rights to his recordings. He continued on that label for the rest of his career. From 1948 through 1956 Stewart recorded over forty songs as Yogi Yorgesson. Beginning in 1953 he adopted other comic personas for some of his releases: Japanese (Harry Kari), country bumpkin (Claude Hopper) and German (Klaus Hammerschmidt).

Harry Stewart was killed in an automobile accident in 1956 while returning to Los Angeles from an appearance in Ely, Nevada. He was survived by his wife Gretchen, a son and a stepdaughter.


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