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Musical icon Tony Bennett has died

Musical icon Tony Bennett, known for his smooth voice and popular music, died on Friday. He was 96. The late singer had passed away just two weeks before his birthday in his hometown of New York, Bennett’s publicist Sylvia Weiner told AP. She added that there was no specific cause of death.

The “I Left My Heart In San Francisco” artist had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2016. “There’s a lot about him that I miss,” his wife, Susan Bennett, told AARP Magazine at the time. “Because he’s not the old Tony anymore … But when he sings, he’s the old Tony.”

Among his many admirers was Lady Gaga, who put out an album “Love for Sale” with the musical icon in 2021.


“He’s my friend. He’s my musical companion. And he’s the greatest singer in the whole world. And I’m counting on you, New York, to make him smile,” Gaga told the crowd during one of their performances.

“So you better cheer. You better yell. You better laugh. You better cry. You better give your soul.”

Gaga was by his side during his last performances at Radio City Music Hall in August 2021. He then had to take a step back from performing as his health declined.

Over the span of his decadeslong career, Bennett released more than 70 albums, sold more than 50 million records worldwide, and won 20 Grammys and 2 Emmys. He also broke the Guinness World Record for being the oldest person to release an album of new material, at the age of 95 years and 60 days.

He was known for many hits including, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” “Fly Me to the Moon” and “Steppin’ Out With My Baby” and sang duets with Gaga to “Love For Sale” and “Anything Goes.”

Bennett, whose real name was Anthony Dominick Benedetto, was born on August 3, 1926 at St. John’s Hospital in Long Island City, Queens in New York City.

He was the youngest child of grocer John Benedetto and seamstress Anna and grew up with older sister Mary and older brother John Jr. He and his siblings were raised in poverty during the Great Depression as their father’s health declined and John Sr. passed away when Tony was just 10 years old.


Bennett, who grew up listening to artists like Bing Crosby, Judy Garland and Louis Armstrong, found a love for music early on.

At the age of 10 he performed at the opening of the Triborough Bridge beside Mayor Fiorello La Guardia. And by 13 years old he was singing for money as a waiter in several Italian restaurants in his neighborhood in Queens.

He attended New York’s School of Industrial Art where he studied painting and music until dropping out to help support his family and continued to perform amateur gigs all over the city until he was drafted into the United States Army in November 1944 during World War II.

Upon the war’s end, he was involved in the liberation of a Nazi concentration camp near Landsberg, Germany. After the war, he made his way back to music and studied at the American Theatre Wing on the GI Bill.

Bennett got his big break in 1949 when he was discovered by Pearl Bailey, who asked him to open for her in Greenwich Village. During their performance, Bob Hope was in the crowd and decided to take Bennett on the road with him.

From there, Bennett recorded a demo of “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” and was signed to Columbia Records in 1950. In 1952, Bennett married Ohio art student and jazz fan Patricia Beech and welcomed two sons: D’Andrea, born in 1954, and Daegal, born in 1955. He and Beech separated in 1965 and the following year she sued him for divorce on grounds of adultery. They settled their divorce in 1971.


Bennett quietly married aspiring actress Sandra Grant on Dec. 29, 1971. They welcomed two daughters together — Joanna and Antonia — but ended their marriage in 1983.

He moved on with former New York City schoolteacher Susan Bennett (née Crow), whom he married on June 21, 2007. Together, the couple founded the charitable organization Exploring the Arts as well as the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts in Queens.

Susan remained by Bennett’s side until the end.

In other news – Actress Carlin Glynn dies at 83

Carlin Glynn, the singer/actress who won a Tony Award in 1979 for her role in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, has died. She was 83.

Glynn’s daughter, actress Mary Stuart Masterson, announced on Instagram that Glynn died July 13, following dementia and cancer diagnoses in recent years. Read More

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