If any performer can truly be said to have carved out his own comedic turf, made a huge success out of it lasting over several decades, while completely owning that piece of turf lock, stock, and barrel, then that performer would have to be Jimmy Durante. There never has been -- nor is there likely ever to be -- a stylistic school of Durante; the man and his character are of one piece and ingrained in the national consciousness to the extreme. Anyone foolish enough to start appropriating any part of his act would be immediately branded as a slavish imitator -- someone just merely "doing Durante" -- while always being doomed to comparison with the one and only real-deal "Schnozzola" and again, falling well short of the mark. On the surface, Durante's mega-success defied all commonly understood show business laws. No one with such a gravelly voice should have been able to put over a song as well as he did. No one as ugly as him should have made as much profitable hay as he did about being that ugly, and parlaying those looks into a movie career at that. No one wore rumpled suits and a beat-up fedora (covering what little hair he had left), smoked a cheap cigar, and mangled the English language with more charm and hilarity than he. No one won the hearts of his audience by simply being himself -- a comic Everyman from the poor side of town -- than did one Jimmy Durante. He didn't sing good, he didn't look good, and he had the audacity to keep bringing it up, he dressed like a bum, and couldn't say a complete sentence without screwing up some (or all) of the words. Not much of a show business résumé on the surface of it, but Durante's uncloneable charm gathered its main strength from being just that; an average guy who -- as one critic put it -- "acted like a heckler from an audience who had finally decided he could do a better job himself and, upsetting all conventional show business decorum, had snuck into the spotlight." There was not one subtle thing about Jimmy Durante; whether it was wrecking a piano and throwing the resultant debris at the audience, singing a song like "I Know Darn Well I Can Do Without Broadway (But Can Broadway Do Without Me?)," or doing a complete about face and providing a brief glimpse of the wistful side of his character, he tapped the deepest of emotions every single time and did it at full bore.