Can you picture Arnold Schwarzenegger playing bluegrass fiddle? Did you know that Richard Nixon studied violin and piano before becoming president? Well get ready because the Fiddle Examiner is going to reveal ten famous people that you probably didn’t know held a fiddle under their chins at some point in there lives.
Senator Albert Gore (Senior), was also a fiddler and played with his band in the 1930s.
You can hear a recording of Al Gore, Sr. playing Soldier’s Joy on the Library of Congress web site:
Richard Nixon played the violin, clarinet, saxophone, piano, and the accordion long before he became president of the United States.
Before he became Conan the Barbarian, before he became the Terminator, (and several other action heroes) he played a humble country fiddler, Joe Santo, (who also happened to be Mr. Austria) in the 1976 movie Stay Hungry. Jeff Bridges and Sally Field also star in this charming comedy. Although Arnold probably didn’t actually play the fiddle, her sure made it look convincing.
Aside from being two of the first American presidents, Thomas Jefferson, John Tyler, and Patrick Henry played the fiddle. More than likely, they played tunes such as the Fisherman’s Reel along with works of composers like Vivaldi. It is also said that their friend, Benjamin Franklin also played the fiddle aside from inventing the glass harmonica.
Louis Farrakhan Muhammad
Louis Farrakhan Muhammad, religious and social leader heading the Nation of Islam (NOI) is also an accomplished violinist.
You may have seen his film, LimeLight, in which he played (and destroyed) a few violins while injuring his back in the process. Also, you may have noticed that he played the violin left-handed. It was rumoured that he actually played the violin, and cello, in this manner in real life.
Larry Fine (The Three Stooges)
If you are a Stooges fan you probably remember that famous scene from Disorder in the Court where Larry skewers a toupee with his violin bow and thinks it’s a spider. Larry is known to have played the violin quite well in real life.
You may know her from Saturday Night Live, but you may not know that she is a classically trained violinist and singer. She has performed for the likes of President Jimmy Carter and Egypt president Anwar Sadat.
Best known for his role as Colonel Klink on the TV show Hogan’s Heroes, Klemperer screeched out a few violin tunes on the show (for the sake of comedy). However he was a serious violinist and pianist in real life. His father was renowned conductor Otto Klemperer.
Here is one episode of Hogan’s Heroes where Klink “plays” the violin. Hogan even goes so far as to call him “Papa Heifetz”.
Before becoming a sexy movie star, sharing the screen with such actors as John Wayne and James Stewart, she studied the violin. Reportedly, she often serenaded movie crews during breaks.