An American jazz musician, clarinetist and bandleader, known as "King of Swing", "Patriarch of the Clarinet", "The Professor", and "Swing's Senior Statesman".
When Benny was 10, his father enrolled Benny and two older brothers in music lessons.
His early influences were New Orleans jazz clarinetists working in Chicago, notably Johnny Dodds, Leon Roppolo, and Jimmy Noone.
When Goodman was 16, he joined one of Chicago's top bands, the Ben Pollack Orchestra, with which he made his first recordings in 1926.
Goodman's father, David Goodman was killed in a traffic accident shortly after Benny joined the Pollack band in 1929.
Goodman left for New York City and became a successful session musician during the late 1920s and early 1930s.
In July 1935, a record of the Goodman band playing the Henderson charts on "King Porter Stomp".
Theat year in 1935 1935 at the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles, Goodman and his band scheduled for a three-week engagement. The Palomar provided the ideal environment, as there was a huge dance floor with a capacity of 4,000 couples.
Goodman was finally a nationally known star, and the Swing Era began, led by Goodman. Following this the big band era exploded.
Benny Goodman's band appeared as a specialty act in major musical features, including
The Big Broadcast of 1937 Hollywood Hotel 1938
The Powers Girl 1942
Stage Door Canteen 1943
The Gang's All Here 1943
Sweet and Lowdown 1944
A Song Is Born 1948
Goodman's only starring feature was Sweet and Low Down (1944).
Goodman's success story was told in the 1955 motion picture "The Benny Goodman Story" with Steve Allen and Donna Reed.
Goodman played on radio, clubs and dance halls with his own band becoming one of the most popular bands of the swing era with "Benny Goodman and his Orchestra".
After winning numerous polls over the years as best jazz clarinetist, Goodman was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame in 1957.
Despite increasing health problems, he continued to play the clarinet until his death from a heart attack in New York City in 1986 at the age of 77.
Goodman was honored with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.