Popular crooner Vic Damone dies in Florida at 89

I was singing his words, breathing his breaths, [doing] his interpretation, with the high notes, the synergy.”

U.S. In 1987, Damone and actress-singer Diahann Carroll married after a long romance, and they paired for nightclub and concert tours. Damone still drew crowds in nightclubs and concerts into his 70s, before illness prompted his retirement to Palm Beach, Fla., with his fifth wife, fashion designer Rena Rowan. “I decided that if I could sound like Frank maybe I did have a chance. 3, 1987, file photo, Vic Damone, left, and Diahann Carroll show off their rings after wedding in Atlantic City, N,J. He wrote in his memoir, Singing Was the Easy Part, that he never considered himself a showman like Milton Berle or Sammy Davis Jr. “My gift was singing.”
In 1954, Damone married the Italian actress Pier Angeli, after her mother refused to allow her to marry James Dean. © The Associated Press, 2018 Damone died Sunday at a Miami Beach hospital from complications of a respiratory illness. (Scott Stetzer/Associated Press)

Marriages to actress Judy Rawlins, with whom he had three daughters, and Houston socialite Becky Ann Jones also ended in divorce. Damone’s style as a lounge singer remained constant through the years: straightforward, concentrated on melody and lyrics without resorting to vocal gimmicks. The couple had a son and named him Perry before divorcing in 1959. comedian Don Rickles, the Merchant of Venom, dead at 90

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Sinatra praised Damone
Sinatra and Damone, along with Tony Bennett, Perry Como, Dean Martin and others comprised a group of Italian Americans who dominated the postwar pop music field. Damone is survived by two sisters, his three daughters and six grandchildren. “I tried to mimic him,” Damone said in a 1992 interview with Newsday. Rowan died in November 2016. “That wasn’t my particular gift,” he wrote. They divorced in 1996. He was 89. Damone adopted his mother’s maiden name when he began his career, after catching an early break while working as an usher at the Paramount Theater in New York City, according to a family statement. Damone’s easy-listening romantic ballads brought him million-selling records and sustained a half-century career in recordings, movies and nightclub and concert and television appearances. Then he asked Como whether he should continue voice lessons, and Como said simply, “Keep singing!” and referred him to a local bandleader. Victoria Damone told The Associated Press in a phone interview Monday that her father died Sunday at a Miami Beach hospital from complications of a respiratory illness. Vic Damone, whose mellow baritone once earned praise from Frank Sinatra as “the best pipes in the business,” has died in Florida at the age of 89, his daughter said. In this Jan. Like many young singers of his era, his idol was Sinatra. Far from resenting the mimicry, Sinatra praised Damone’s singing ability. Born Vito Farinola in Brooklyn, New York, on June 12, 1928, to immigrants from Bari, Italy, Damone dropped out of high school after his father, an electrician, was injured on the job. The 14-year-old bumped into Como in an elevator at the theater, stopped it between floors and started singing. Damone appeared in several MGM musicals and he was originally cast in The Godfather, but the role of a budding singer seeking mob help in a Hollywood career eventually went to Al Martino. Damone’s career began climbing in the 1940s after he won a tie on the radio show Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Hunt. His hit singles included Again, You’re Breaking My Heart, My Heart Cries for You, On the Street Where You Live and, in 1957, the title song of the Cary Grant film An Affair to Remember.