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Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (2) | Trivia (15) | Personal Quotes (5)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 18 May 1912Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, USA
Date of Death 12 May 2001Jupiter Inlet Colony, Florida, USA  (Alzheimer's disease)
Birth NamePierino Ronald Como
Height 5' 6" (1.68 m)

Mini Bio (1)

In a singing (and sometimes acting) career that spanned over six decades, the name Perry Como has come to mean that warm, smooth, easy-listening, general-audience, slow-flame romance that characterized popular music in the 1940s, '50s and '60s. It has also come to represent an overall good feeling. Telling of the success of the appeal of that good feeling early on in his career, during just a single week in the 1940s, the music industry pressed and sold 4 million Como records. In the 1950s, 11 of his singles sold well over 1 million copies each. In more than six decades of singing, his records sold more than 100 million copies; 27 individual prints reached the million-record mark.

Christened Pierino Como in Canonsburg, Pa., and one of a family of 13 children, Como pursued a career as a barber before he launched his singing career. At 11, he was working after school cutting hair in a barbershop. Before long he had set his sights on owning his own shop -- even making monthly payments toward one. He enjoyed singing, however, and let go of his barbershop ambitions soon after high school and his marriage to his high school sweetheart, Roselle Beline. It didn't take long to prove that he had talent and soon landed a spot in the Freddie Carlone Orchestra, where he made $28 a week touring the Midwest. In 1937, he joined the Ted Weems orchestra and was featured on the band's "Beat the Band" radio program. His career was on the rise. But, with the start of WWII and the eventual breakup of Weems' band, Como found himself back in Canonsburg in a barbershop cutting hair -- not for long, however. CBS radio soon offered him a weekly show at $100 a week and RCA signed him to a recording contract that garnered him in the next 14 years 42 Top 10 hits, a feat bettered only by Bing Crosby. These hits included "Dig You Later (A Hubba-Hubba-Hubba)," "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows," "They Say It's Wonderful," "Surrender" and "Some Enchanted Evening." The 1945 rendition of "Till the End of Time," (a song associated with the movie "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" and based on Chopin's "Polonaise in A-Flat Minor") was perhaps his most memorable hit from this era. Other hits were on the lighter side of romance and included "Hot Diggity" and the forever a favorite "Papa Loves Mambo."

It was also during his singing career in the 1940s that Como appeared in three films for Twentieth Century Fox. His parts were unfortunately less than memorable, partly because of his overpowering screen presence of his co-star Carmen Miranda. But Como did have a screen presence, and he found its niche in the magic of the living room theater when he made his television debut in 1948 with NBC's "The Chesterfield Supper Club." In 1950, he was at the helm of his own show with CBS: "The Perry Como Show," which ran for five years. Back on NBC in 1955 he achieved his greatest success in the medium with an eight-year run. This was the show that featured his theme song: "Sing Along With Me." The show included the talents of the Ray Charles Singers and announcer Frank Gallop. It was also in this show where he developed and honed the image of the cardigan-wearing, relaxed, wholesome nice-guy that has been his trademark ever since. In 1956 and '57 he won Emmy Awards for most outstanding television personality. The show itself won Peabody and Golden Mike awards. During his tenure with this show he also received the Recording Industry Association of America's first ever Gold Disc Award for his rendition of "Catch a Falling Star." He retired from his show in 1963, opting to work only occasionally on t.v. specials. These specials included his traditional Christmas shows. After two decades of just canned music, he returned to live performances in the 1970s, playing Las Vegas and other circuits; he even did a sell-out tour of Australia. The 1970s also gave rise to his million record seller "It's Impossible." In one of his most gratifying moments in his career, President Reagan presented Como with a Kennedy Center award for outstanding achievement in the performing arts.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Patrick King <patrick_king@hotmail.com>

Spouse (1)

Roselle Beline (31 July 1933 - 10 August 1998) (her death) (3 children)

Trade Mark (2)

Mellow baritone voice, casual style, cardigan sweaters
Opening theme: "Dream Along With Me," Closing theme: "You Are Never Far Away (From Me)."

Trivia (15)

One of 13 children, he was the seventh son of a seventh son - a sign of good luck in Italian families.
Sold well over 50 million records. Had 13 number #1 hit songs - the first was "Till The End of Time" in 1945.
Commenting on the relaxing effect his music has on people, Dean Martin once joked that he "used to go over to Perry's to borrow a cup of sleep".
Days after his death, columnist William F. Buckley wrote a column describing a past act of Como kindness when he gave Buckley's mother a jeweled brooch of his (when she needed a pin to repair an outfit) on board a plane. [May 2001]
Had the longest stay of any popular artist with RCA Victor records, 1943-1988.
Had a Big Hit with "Lili Marlene" in the US and Canada.
One of his biggest hits, "Hot Diggity", was freely adapted from Emmanuel Chabrier's popular classical piece, "España".
He was the first of his many brothers and sisters to have been born in America.
One of the most popular male vocalists of all time, his list of hit records, over a 30 year period, is testament to his durability. His many hits include: "Till the End of Time," "Temptation," "Prisoner of Love," "Because," "When You Were Sweet Sixteen," "Wanted," "No Other Love," "Hot Diggety," "(There's No Place Like) Home For the Holidays," "Round and Round," "Catch a Falling Star," "Delaware," "Seattle," "It's Impossible" and "And I Love You So."
Had three children, Ronnie, David, and Terri. David and Terri were both adopted, David at the age of 4, because Roselle could no longer have children after the birth of her first child.
Performed at a 10 cent a dance club in Pittsburgh called "The Grove" in the early 1930s. He did not have a car to get to work, so he traveled to work on a trolley every day.
In December 2006, his 1946 recording of "Jingle Bells" topped Billboard magazine's Hot Ringtones chart - five years after he died.
The private Como was exactly as he appeared to the public: a quiet, self-effacing man who considered his performing activities as strictly tertiary to his family and his faith. While he had numerous million-selling singles and albums, he refused to have most of them certified gold (later platinum) out of modesty. A notable exception was when his album "Como's Gold Records" (RCA Victor: 1958) was released. One of the first compilation albums to become a best-seller, with liner notes by Irving Berlin, it became a million-seller in and of itself, and remained on the Billboard charts for more than a decade after its release.
He was awarded 2 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Radio at 1708 Vine Street and for Television at 6376 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
Godfather of Debby Boone.

Personal Quotes (5)

I've done nothing that I can call exciting. I was a barber. Since then I've been a singer. That's it.
Perry Como said of his career: "For the amount of talent I had (and I couldn't dance, act, or tell a joke) I enjoyed a tremendous career."
On his professional life versus his home life: "I'd perform with the world's greatest artists [on TV], and then come home to the world's greatest family."
The audience knows I'm not going to do anything after all these years to upset them.
I don't work at home at all. Once you know a song too well, you start to fool around with it. At the session, when the band's working on the arrangement, I learn the tune right there.

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