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Obituaries for COMO

 

Perry Como

 

Singer Perry Como Dies at 87

(copied from) The Associated Press 5/12/2001

 

MIAMI, Fla. (AP) - Perry Como, the crooning baritone barber famous for his relaxed vocals, cardigan sweaters and television Christmas specials, died Saturday after a lengthy illness. He was 87.  Como died in his sleep at his home in Jupiter Inlet Beach Colony, his daughter Terry Thibadeau said.  ``We spent two beautiful hours (Friday) with dad, me and my grandson,

Holden,'' Thibadeau told The Palm Beach Post. ``We shared ice cream. It was a wonderful moment for us.''

 

The charming Italian-American whose name became synonymous with mellow performed through seven decades, starting in the 1930s. His idol, the late singer Bing Crosby, once called Como ``the man who invented casual.''  Como left his job as a steel town barber to sing with big bands in the 1930s and his songs were a mainstay of radio and jukeboxes in the late 1940s. He helped pioneer variety shows on the new medium of television in the 1950s and

performed on television specials over the last four decades. His music remained popular in recent years on easy-listening radio. In 1945, Como had his first million-selling hit, ``Till the End of Time.'' It was among many songs including ``Prisoner of Love'' that topped the charts.

He competed with Frank Sinatra and Crosby to be the era's top crooner.  While Como emulated Crosby in his early years, some of his best-known numbers were light novelty songs like ``Hot Diggity'' and ``Papa Loves Mambo.'' He made a brief foray into wartime movie musicals in Hollywood, but decided to pursue a career in radio.  Como often said he far preferred singing romantic ballads to some of the lightweight numbers, but the novelty songs were a frequent audience request.  ``They get tired of hearing `Melancholy Baby' and those mushy things,'' Como said in a 1994 interview. ``But those are the songs that, as a singer, you

love to sing.''  Some music experts say Como, with his naturally melodic baritone voice, might

have carved a deeper niche if he had taken firmer control of his material.

 

Will Friedwald, author of ``Jazz Singing'' and an expert of music from Como's era, once called Como ``a marvelous singer'' who ``seemed to do everything they put in front of him.''  Como made his television debut in 1948 on NBC's ``The Chesterfield Supper Club'' and in 1950 he switched to CBS for ``The Perry Como Show,'' which ran for five years. Como then returned to NBC for a variety show that ran for eight years

 

submitted by Alan Hartman