• February 11, 1891
  • Germany


  • July 13, 1958
  • New York, NY

Paul Ash

Paul Ash is best remembered today for his large, semi-symphonic orchestra that frequented the pits of many major movie palaces of the late 1920s and early 1930s. Born in Germany, Ash's family emigrated to America and settled in Milwaukee, where he formed his first orchestra in 1910. After serving in the Army during WWI he moved to New York and briefly became an actor, appearing in several silent films. For many years he led pit orchestras at the Paramount Theaters in Brooklyn and Manhattan, where he discovered singer Helen Kane (of Betty Boop fame).

Ash eventually moved to Chicago and formed a new orchestra, which toured the surrounding area. The group performed mainly in large movie houses without PA systems, as these were better suited for such a ensemble. Among Paul Ash alumni are Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller and Red Norvo. One of the band's vocalists was Martha Raye, who would later go on to fame as a singer and comedienne. Ash played piano and violin and also wrote lyrics. He co-authored ''(I've Grown So Lonely) Thinking of You'' and ''That's Why I Love You So'' with Walter Donaldson.