Leon Redbone Biography

Enigmatic ’70s Musician, Dies: Leon Redbone Biography, Wiki, Age, Family, Net Worth, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook

Leon Redbone Biography

Leon Redbone  Enigmatic ’70s Musician, Dies ‘at the Age of 127’ he was born Dickran Gobalian, 1949 – May 30, 2019 was a singer-songwriter, guitarist, actor and voice actor specializing in jazz, blues, and Tin Pan Alley classics. Recognized by his Panama hat, dark sunglasses, and black tie, Redbone was born in Cyprus of Armenian ancestry and first appeared on stage in Toronto, Canada in the early 1970s. He also appeared on film and television in acting and voice-over roles.

Leon Redbone Biography

Redbone’s concerts made use of performance, comedy, and skilled instrumentals. Recurrent gags involved the influence of alcohol and claiming to have written works originating well before he was born – Redbone favored material from the Tin Pan Alley era, circa the 1890s to 1910. He sang the theme to the 1980s television series Mr. Belvedere and released sixteen albums.


Leon Redbone Biography

Redbone was reticent about his origins. According to a Toronto Star report in the 1980s, he was once known as Dickran Gobalian, and he came to Canada from Cyprus in the mid-1960s and changed his name via the Ontario Change of Name Act. Biographical research published in 2019 conjectured his birth name, and that his family was of Armenian origin. His parents lived in Jerusalem but moved in 1948 to Nicosia, Cyprus, where Redbone was born. By 1961, the family had moved to London, England, and by 1965 to Toronto.


While living in Canada in the early 1970s, Redbone began performing in public at Toronto area nightclubs and folk music festivals. He met Bob Dylan at the Mariposa Folk Festival in 1972. Dylan was so impressed by Redbone’s performance that he mentioned it in a Rolling Stone interview, leading that magazine to do a feature article on Redbone a year before he had a recording contract. The article described his performances as “so authentic you can hear the surface noise of an old 78 rpm.” His first album, On the Track, was released by Warner Bros. Records in 1975.

Leon Redbone Biography

He was introduced to a larger public as a semi-regular musical guest on NBC’s Saturday Night Live, appearing twice in the first season. During the 1980s and ’90s Redbone was a frequent guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. He was also a guest on A Prairie Home Companion.

In an interview printed in the Winter 2017 edition (No. 177) of BING magazine, the publication of the International Club Crosby, clarinetist Dan Levinson recounts working with Redbone. “I toured with Redbone for 12 years. We used to listen to early Crosby while we were on the road. Redbone’s] taste in music was more eclectic than that of anyone I’ve ever known — it included Emmett Miller, Blind Blake, Paganini, Caruso, Gene Austin, John McCormack, Moran and Mack, Cliff Edwards, Jelly Roll Morton, Ted Lewis, Mustafa the Castrato, the Hungarian singer Imre Laszlo, Jimmie Rodgers (‘the Singing Brakeman’), Mongolian throat singers, W.C. Fields, Laurel and Hardy … and early Bing Crosby.”

Due to his reluctance to discuss his past, there was speculation that “Leon Redbone” was an alternative identity for another performer. Two common suggestions in years past were Andy Kaufman and Frank Zappa, both of whom Redbone outlived.

Redbone usually dressed in attire reminiscent of the Vaudeville era, performing in a Panama hat with a black band and dark sunglasses, often while sitting at attention on a stool, with a white coat and trousers with a black string tie.

Leon Redbone Biography

Redbone survived the crash of a small plane in Clarksburg, West Virginia, on February 12, 1979. He traveled to engagements exclusively by car, saying, “I carry around many unusual items and devices. They make life difficult for airport security personnel and flying impossible for me.”

On May 19, 2015 on his website, his publicist referred to concerns about his health and announced his retirement from performing and recording.


Redbone died on May 30, 2019. At the time of his death, he was living in Bucks County, Pennsylvania in hospice care.

Cause of Death

No details about his death were provided.