Tony Bennett was born Anthony Dominick Benedetto in Queens, New York City, on August 3, 1926, the son of John Benedetto, a tailor, and Anna Benedetto. His father died when Tony was eight, and for the next seventeen years his mother worked as a seamstress in a garment factory. Despite growing up during the depression, in a deprived household without a father, Tony remembers as a happy time in his life. He played in a local parish minstrel show every weekend, and during the week worked as a singing waiter. Getting himself through Manhattan¡¦s School of Industrial and becoming a commercial artist was short-lived.
World War II came along and he was drafted into the United States Army. The war in a sense brought his promising student career to a close and opened a new career towards music.
While in the Army, Tony sang with various military bands. When he returned home after two years in Europe, he entered the American Theater Wing¡¦s professional school, studying voice under the G.I. Bill with the late Miriam Spier. During this time Bennett rounded out a livelihood by playing nightclub gigs at night and supported himself as an elevator operator during the day.
His big break came when he won a spot on the
Arthur Godfrey television show. There he so impressed Jan Murray that Tony
was invited to appear the following week on Murray¡¦s show, Songs for Sale
headlined by Pearl Bailey. That night Bob Hope saw the Pearl Bailey show
and was so amazed with Tony that he invited the singer to visit him and
made plans to accompany him on a nation wide tour. Not long after the tour
with hope, Tony submitted a demo to Columbia records which wasted no