© Allan Grant, 1948, Dizzy Gillespie during a jam session

"It’s taken me all my life to learn what not to play." (Dizzy Gillespie)

If any photographer ever captured the lighter side of show business, it was the confident New York native who, as a teen, traded a model airplane that he’d built for a pocket Kodak camera, and never looked back.

A LIFE staffer from 1947 until the late 1960s, Grant covered the entertainment world from the inside. His unique blend of cool appraisal and obvious affection for (most) of his subjects went a long way toward making the stars seem just as quirky and approachable as the rest of us mortals. (read more)

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