Perry Como Gone!
Como, Hollis Friend, Dead at 88
Como died in his sleep at his home in Jupiter, Fla., on Saturday. May 12th,
2001. Pierino Como was born on May 18, 1912, in Canonsburg, Pa.. He was one of 13
|children born to immigrant parents from the
Abruzzi region of Italy. The key to his success was comfort everybody liked Perry
Como's easy-to-listen-to style. Bing Crosby himself referred to Mr. Como as "the man
who invented casual." Perry started working in a barber shop at an early age. He
picked up extra money on weekends, singing for the local chapter of the Sons of Italy and
other fraternal organizations. He joined his brothers Tony and Frank in a band that played
in clubs. Fortune smiled on Perry and in 1937 he was discovered by famous band leader Ted
Weams. During WWII his new family lived in a small apartment in Long Island City, Queens.
Perry was singing late-night performances at the Copacabana and taking the subway home
after the 2:30 a.m. show. In 1943, he signed his first recording contract with RCA Records
and made his first single, "Goodbye Sue." That same year, he was signed by 20th
Century Fox to a seven-year motion picture contract. He made some movies during that
period, among them "Something for the Boys" (1944), "Doll Face"
(1945), "If I'm Lucky" (1946) and "Words and Music"(1948). In 1944 his
NBC radio show, "The Chesterfield Supper Club," became a major success. In the
late 1940's he took to television, a medium he found very much to his liking, with a
15-minute music program that was quite popular. In 1946, the Comos bought a house and
three acres of land at Sands Point, on Long Island. "Hubba Hubba" (which he sang
in the 1946 film "Doll Face") and continuing through "Chi-Baba
Chi-Baba" (1947), "N'yot N'yow" ("The Pussycat Song," 1948),
"Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo" ("The Magic Song," 1949), "Zing Zing Zoom
Zoom" (1950), "Chincherinchee," "Papaya-Mama" and the monster hit
"Hot Diggity" (1955). Low-key, unassuming, direct and always relaxed, Mr. Como
won a wide following on television. "The Perry Como Show" was a staple on NBC
from December 1948 to June 1950 and from September 1955 to June 1963, with a leap to CBS
for the period in between. Perry Comos hobby and passion was golf. When he
wasnt with his family or working hed spend his time golfing with friends. In
1954 Perry was the Golfing Champion of the Garden City Country Club in Garden City, Long
Island. That same year Perry captured the Garden City Country Club Golfing Doubles
Championship with best friend and golfing partner, Dr. Roland Binning, Dentist of
Hollis Park Gardens, Queens, NY. Mr. Como and his family moved to Florida in the
1970's, closer to PGA Headquarters. He would return to Long Island each year to
participate in one of his favorite charities, the St. Francis Hospital Celebrity Golf
Classic. In the 1980's, after 50 years in show business, he was still active doing
television specials. By then, his worldwide record sales had topped the 100 million mark.
Among his biggest hits were "Because," "When You Were Sweet 16,"
"Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes," "Wanted," "Papa Loves
Mambo," "Round and Round" and "Catch a Falling Star," for which
he won a Grammy Award in 1958 as best male vocalist. He also won several Emmys for his
television work in the 1950's. ," Perry Como once told a reporter, "I don't have
a lot to tell the average interviewer
I've done nothing that I can call exciting. I
was a barber. After that I've been a singer. That's it."