Tags: Singer | Perry | Como | Dies

Singer Perry Como Dies

Monday, 14 May 2001 12:00 AM

Confirming the death, his death Terry Dhibadeau and John Knox, who co-hosted a weekly radio program with Como, the singer died in his sleep.

Dhibadeau and her grandson, Holden, met Como on Friday, "We spent two hours together and shared ice cream. It was wonderful," said Dhibadeau.

Knox, who co-hosted "Weekend with Perry," said Como's health had been failing recent years, especially after the death of his wife, Roselle, three years ago.

Como was born in 1912 in the steel town of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, and first worked in a barber shop. Como left the barber job to sing with big bands in the 1930s and his songs were a mainstay of radio and jukeboxes in the late 1940s.

Como helped pioneer variety shows on the new medium of television in the 1950s and performed on television specials during the past four decades. His music remained popular in recent years on easy-listening radio.

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 answered the call of Hollywood in 1944 and under a seven year contract with Twentieth-Century Fox made only four films: "Something for the Boys" (1944), "Doll Face," (1945), "If I'm Lucky," (1946) and "Words and Music," (1948). Como said he found film work boring and was able to gain an early release from his film contract and decided to try a new medium, television.

Como began television work in 1950 and over the next 30 years, alternated his popular television show between NBC and CBS. He was one of the few early television pioneers to maintain a high popularity every year through television's first quarter century. His first show in 1950, was a 15-minute adaptation of his earlier radio show, The Chesterfield Supper Club.

In October 1950, he moved to CBS in a weekly variety series, The Perry Como Show, which ran five seasons. For the next eight years he was back on NBC, first in a Saturday night variety show whose ratings overwhelmed those of Jackie Gleason, his CBS competitor, and then, starting in 1959, in a Tuesday night series, The Kraft Music Hall."

He gave up weekly television in 1963 to do three to six specials a year, and again switched between CBS and NBC. In the late 1970s, he confined his TV work to two holiday specials a year, and eventually retired.

Como was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in January 1990, along with Carroll O'Connor, Barbara Walters, Roone Arledge, Joan Ganz Cooney and the late Fred Astaire.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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Confirming the death, his death Terry Dhibadeau and John Knox, who co-hosted a weekly radio program with Como, the singer died in his sleep. Dhibadeau and her grandson, Holden, met Como on Friday, We spent two hours together and shared ice cream. It was wonderful, said...
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2001-00-14
Monday, 14 May 2001 12:00 AM
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