A Dedication To A Great Singer
In Memory Of Perry Como

1912-2001May 12, 2001
Perry Como, We The Gmmy Fans Love You
We Shall Never Forget You, And Your Songs

Singer Perry Como Dies at 88 in Florida
Updated 3:36 PM ET May 13, 2001

  WEST PALM BEACH (Reuters) - Singer Perry Como, whose career
stretched from the 1930s to the 1980s, died on Saturday
   at his home in Florida, The Palm  Beach Post reported. He was 88.

  The newspaper cited his daughter Terry Thibadeau
as saying the veteran crooner died in his sleep
  at his home in Jupiter Inlet Beach Colony.

  Como, who started out serenading customers in a barber shop,
soared to fame with a relaxed singing style that endured from
   the swing era of the 1930s to the rock-drenched 1980s.

  Although he appeared in a few Hollywood musicals in the
1940s, it was on television  that he really felt at home,
  and he achieved enormous popularity on the small screen.

  Como embarked at 21 upon a career as a professional entertainer,
eventually leading to a $25 million television contract
   and sales of well over 50 million records.

  He had his first hit record in 1945 with "Till The End of Time" --
one of more than a dozen million sellers.

    By the end of the 1940s, Como had become a superstar with easy
listening ballads such as "Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes,"
   "Catch a Falling Star" and "It's  Impossible" --
 one of his few hits that failed to reach the million mark.

  Other records that sold a million were "Prisoner of Love,"
"Hot Diggity," "Because,"  "And I Love You So,"
  "Hubba-Hubba-Hubba," "Wanted," "Temptation," "When
  You Were Sweet 16," "Papa Loves Mambo,"
"Round and Round" and "If."

  His voice improved with age. In 1975, he visited Britain for
his first concert tour anywhere doing a grueling 19
   concerts in just under three weeks, all of them sold out.

  KEPT AUDIENCES HYPNOTIZED

  Como's relaxed singing style enabled him to fall about as
far behind the beat as it is possible to go, creating a sort
   of perpetual tension that kept audiences hypnotized.

  In 1943, Como signed his first recording contract with
RCA Victor and stayed with the label for decades.

  He was voted best vocalist in a magazine poll in 1953 and received
an Emmy award from the television industry in 1956
  for the long-running "Perry Como Show."

  Como's ability to sit on a stool and sing or chat
with an audience was considered unmatchable.

  Pierino Roland Como was born in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania,
on May 18, 1912, the seventh son of a seventh son, a
   traditional sign of luck in Italian families.

  He had loving memories of his parents, who "raised 13
children on $35 a week and
  taught us we were our brothers' keepers."

  He was apprenticed as a barber at the age of 12 and
soon afterward learned the trade. By the age of 21,
   he was a full-time barber with his own shop.

  His customers were not only shaved and barbered but entertained
with many of the popular songs of 1933.
   Some were musicians who came to town with traveling bands
  and, through them, Como was offered a job with a dance band.

  He married his childhood sweetheart and soon after won national
exposure while touring the country as a featured singer
  with the Ted Weems band. The couple had three children.

  Como retired briefly in the early 1970s but could not resist going
back to work and,  well into his 60s, had more hit records.

  In 1980, 1982 and 1984 he was the host of Christmas specials
on television,  broadcast from Israel, Paris and London, respectively.