He grew up in a Toronto-based Jewish family and made his debut in 1924 as a violin prodigy in The Rabbi and the Priest.
He released a spoof album on Capitol Records called Al Tijuana and his Jewish Brass. He also released the records, You Don't Have to be Jewish and When You're in Love.
He was married to Ruth Ludwin from 1957 until 2004.
He starred as a transvestite husband in Woody Allen's 1972 film, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask).