Tony Bennett facts: Singer's real name, wife, children and career explained
21 July 2023, 13:47 | Updated: 21 July 2023, 13:49
Tony Bennett had a truly impressive and successful career that spanned over 70 years.
Anthony Dominick Benedetto, known professionally as Tony Bennett, was an American singer of traditional pop and jazz standards, and big band tunes.
He was also a painter, having created works under the name Anthony Benedetto.
Tony Bennett passed away at the age of 96 in July 2023, following a period of living with Alzheimer's disease.
When was Tony Bennett born?
Tony Bennett was born on August 3, 1926. He celebrated his 95th birthday in August 2022.
Where was Tony Bennett born and did he have siblings?
Tony Bennett's childhood home was in the Astoria section of Queens where he was born into an Italian-American family.
His father died when Tony was 10 and his mother, Anna, raised Tony and his older brother and sister, John and Mary, in a home surrounded by relatives who were Tony’s first fans.
Tony Bennett - 70 Years of Music...and counting
Was Tony Bennett married?
Tony Bennett was married three times, to Patricia Beech in 1952, Sandra Grant in 1971, and Susan Crow from 2007.
Did Tony Bennett have children?
Tony Bennett had four children: two sons and two daughters. Danny, Antonia, Dae and Joanna Bennett.
Which songs was Tony Bennett best known for?
Tony Bennett was best known for his signature song 'I Left My Heart In San Francisco'.
The singer also had success with chart-toppers such as 'Because of You', 'Rags to Riches', and a remake of Hank Williams’ 'Cold, Cold Heart'.
'I Wanna Be Around', 'The Good Life', and 'Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)' also became hits for Tony.
Tony Bennett - I Left My Heart in San Francisco (from MTV Unplugged)
In a social media post to celebrate performing for 70 years, Tony wrote: "70 years since my career began, and the thrill of performing has never wavered. Thank you all for your countless years of support and love.
"I'm so thankful for the many years I've been an entertainer. I owe it all to my fans, and I hope to repay you with some Zen."
Posting a video to look back at his career, Tony added: "Today marks the 70th anniversary of 'Boulevard of Broken Dreams', the first single I released with Columbia Records in 1950.
"I remember being so nervous at that first session, recording in the legendary 30th Street Studio in NYC where Sinatra, Ellington and Leonard Bernstein all made records.
"I'd like to use this moment as an opportunity to look back at all the adventures I've had throughout the years, and to celebrate all that's still to come!"
What did Frank Sinatra say about Tony Bennett?
Tony Bennett honors Frank Sinatra's 100th birthday
Giving an interview to Life magazine in 1965, Frank Sinatra said: "For my money, Tony Bennett is the best singer in the business.
"He excites me when I watch him. He moves me. He's the singer who gets across what the composer has in mind, and probably a little more."
Where did Tony Bennett learn to sing?
Tony Bennett attended the High School of Industrial Arts in Manhattan, where he continued nurturing his two passions: singing and painting.
As a teenager, Tony sang while waiting on tables and then enlisted in the Army during World War II and while in Europe he performed with military bands.
Tony Bennett, Amy Winehouse - Body and Soul (from Duets II: The Great Performances)
He later had vocal studies at the American Theatre Wing School. The first time Bennett sang in a nightclub was in 1946 when he sat in with trombonist Tyree Glenn at the Shangri-La in Astoria.
Tony’s big break came in 1949 when comedian Bob Hope noticed him working with Pearl Bailey in Greenwich Village in New York City.
Tony recalled: "Bob Hope came down to check out my act. He liked my singing so much that after the show he came back to see me in my dressing room and said, ‘Come on kid, you’re going to come to the Paramount and sing with me.’"
How did Tony Bennett get his stage name?
Don't Get Around Much Anymore [In Studio Version] (from Duets II: The Great Performances)
Tony Bennett's first stage name was Joe Bari.
When comedian Bob Hope met Tony, he told him that he didn’t care for his stage name.
Tony explained: "Bob asked me what my real name was. I told him, ‘My name is Anthony Dominick Benedetto,’ and he said, ‘We’ll call you Tony Bennett.’
"And that’s how it happened. A new Americanised name — the start of a wonderful career and a glorious adventure that has continued for 70 years."
Who has Tony Bennett collaborated with?
Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga - The Lady is a Tramp (from Duets II: The Great Performances)
In 2006, the year of his 80th birthday, Tony Bennett's Duets: An American Classic album was released.
Tony once again collaborated with Lady Gaga for a jazz album in 2014, titled Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga: Cheek To Cheek.