“According to legend in Calabash, N.C., comedian Jimmy Durante and his troupe passed through the little Brunswick County town sometime in the 1940s. While there, he made friends with a young restaurant owner.
“Brunswick County historian Susie Carson says that woman was Lucille ‘Lucy’ Coleman, a claim repeated in Theresa Jensen Lacey’s ‘Amazing North Carolina.’ Soon afterward, Durante adopted his trademark sign-off — ‘Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are!’ — for his radio show. According to Coleman’s daughter, Clarice Holden, and others, it was Durante’s anonymous tip of the hat to her mother, who died in 1989.
“Not everyone accepts this theory, though….”
— From “Who is Mrs. Calabash?” by Ben Steelman in the Wilmington Star News