On Air Now
The Smooth Late Show with Martin Collins 10pm - 1am
22 April 2021, 16:26
Tony Bennett has had an impressive and successful career that has spanned over 70 years. Here is everything you need to know about singer and painter Tony Bennett:
Anthony Dominick Benedetto, known professionally as Tony Bennett, is an American singer of traditional pop and jazz standards, and big band tunes.
He is also a painter, having created works under the name Anthony Benedetto.
Tony Bennett was born on August 3, 1926. He celebrated his 94th birthday in August 2020.
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 has been married three times, to Patricia Beech in 1952, Sandra Grant in 1971, and Susan Crow since 2007.
Tony Bennett has four children: two sons and two daughters. Danny, Antonia, Dae and Joanna Bennett.
Tony Bennett is 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.
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!"
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."
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.
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.’"
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."
In 2006, the year of his 80th birthday, Tony Bennett's Duets: An American Classic album was released.
In celebration of his 85th birthday in 2011, Tony released Duets II, which included duets with Amy Winehouse, Michael Bublé, Aretha Franklin, Josh Groban, Lady Gaga, John Mayer, and many others.
Tony once again collaborated with Lady Gaga for a jazz album in 2014, titled Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga: Cheek To Cheek.
Tony Bennett has performed for eleven U.S. Presidents, is a World War II veteran who fought in the Battle of the Bulge and participated in the liberation of a concentration camp, and marched side by side with Dr. Martin Luther King in Selma to support civil rights.
Tony Bennett's net worth was said to be $200 million (£164 million) in November 2019, according to Celebrity Net Worth.