Vic Damone, the silky-voiced baritone who scored hits throughout the ’40s and ’50s, reportedly died on Sunday at the age of 89. His family tells Fox News that the singer died at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Florida, with close relatives by his side.
Damone released over 2,500 records during his seven decades in music, earning praise from the likes of Frank Sinatra, who publicly affirmed that he “had the best pipes in the business.” He came of age in the big band boom just following World War II, alongside Sinatra, Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, and Perry Como.
After working his way up through New York City clubs, he topped the charts in 1949 with the popular standard “You’re Breaking My Heart.” This set the stage for later Top 10 hits “My Heart Cries for You” and “Tzena Tzena Tzena,” as well as Broadway musical numbers like “On the Street Where You Live” from Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady.
In addition to his music career, he was a familiar face on television and on the big screen, appearing in guest spots on The Dick Van Dyke Show and Judy Garland’s prime time series.
Born Vito Farinola on June 12, 1928, to an Italian family in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, Damone was married five times. His first marriage, to actress Pier Angeli, resulted in the birth of his only son, Perry, in 1955. He also had three daughters — Victoria, Andrea, and Daniella — with his second wife, Judith Rawlins, whom he divorced in 1971.
Marriages to Becky Ann Jones and Diahann Carroll followed, before he tied the knot with fashion designer Rena Rowan in 1998. They stayed together until her death in 2016.
After suffering a stroke in 2002, Damone largely retired from music. However, he did give one final performance on Jan. 22, 2011, when he hit the stage at the Kravis Performing Arts Center in Palm Beach, Florida before to a sold-out crowd. “I don’t need the money … But, you know, my six grandkids have never seen me on stage,” he said at the time. “It will be the first time. I will introduce them. It’s going to be exciting for me. Before I die, I want them to have heard me perform at least once.”