|Jolson toured extensively during
World War II, entertaining the troops both abroad and in the United
States, especially in Army hospitals. It was at one of these visits
on tour, in Hot Springs Arkansas, that Jolson met his fourth wife Erle
According to brother Harry in his book "Mistah Jolson:"
"An appearance that Al made in an Army hospital in Hot Springs,
Arkansas, heralded a great change in his life. A lovely girl, who
was one of the x-ray technicians, asked for his autograph...
'Perhaps you think I'm crazy,' Al told
me later. 'A man of sixty doesn't ordinarily fall for a girl of
twenty -- or is it the other way around? I couldn't get that girl's
face out of my mind....'"
While in Hollywood, Jolson became
critically ill; this was not the first time. He had two ribs and
part of a lung cut away. He was despondent and didn't know if he
wanted to live. He then received a hospital visit from Erle
Galbraith, and now he wanted to live more than anything. While he was
recuperating in Palm Springs, he and Erle were married. Jolson was
soon his old self again.
This marriage was Jolson's most
successful. Erle would be content to stay at home and make her
husband happy. They adopted two children, a boy Asa Jr. and a girl
named Alicia. After the adoption of Asa Jr. , Jolson bought the
house he had originally built for Ruby Keeler, and there they lived.
They later adopted Alicia, who was diagnosed as being "mentally
retarded," and she at some point required institutional care. She
passed away in 1982. Asa Jr. (now known as Albert) is currently
living in Nashville, Tennessee.