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Perry Como Gone!

perry.jpg (10364 bytes) Perry Como, Hollis Friend, Dead at 88

Perry 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 Como’s hobby and passion was golf. When he wasn’t with his family or working he’d 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." 

 

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Last modified: May 01, 2008