Vic Damone

Vic Damone (born June 12, 1928) is an American singer and entertainer. Damone was born Vito Rocco Farinola in Brooklyn, New York to Italian immigrants Rocco and Mary (Damone) Farinola. His father was an electrician; his mother taught piano. Inspired by his favorite singer, Frank Sinatra, Damone began taking voice lessons. He sang in a choir at St. Finbar’s Church in Bath Beach Brooklyn for Sunday Mass under organist Anthony Amorello. When his father was injured at work, Damone had to drop out of high school. He worked as an usher and elevator operator in the Paramount Theater, in Manhattan. He met Perry Como, who asked him into his dressing room to sing for him. Impressed, Como referred him to a local bandleader. Farinola decided to call himself Vic Damone, using his mother’s maiden name.

Damone entered the talent search on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts and won in April 1947. This led to his becoming a regular on Godfrey’s show. He met Milton Berle at the studio and Berle got him work at two night clubs. By mid 1947, Damone had signed a contract with Mercury Records.

His first release, “I Have But One Heart“, reached #7 on the Billboard chart. “You Do” (released November 1) reached the same peak. These were followed by a number of other hits. In 1948 he got his own weekly radio show, Saturday Night Serenade.

Fantastic Medley! Judy Garland and Vic Damone sing songs from the Musical, “Kismet” 1964


In 1951, Damone appeared in two movies: The Strip and Rich, Young and Pretty. From 1951 to 1953 he served in the United States Army, but before going into the service he recorded a number of songs which were released during that time. He served with future Northwest Indiana radio personality Al Evans, and also country music star Johnny Cash. After leaving the service, he married the Italian actress Pier Angeli (Anna Maria Pierangeli), and in 1954 made two more movies: Deep in My Heart and Athena. He also made some guest appearances on Milton Berle‘s television show in 1954.

In 1955, Damone had only one song on the charts, “Por Favor,” which did not make it above #73. However, he did have major roles in two movie musicals, Hit the Deck and Kismet. In early 1956, he moved from Mercury to Columbia Records and had some success on that label with hits like “On the Street Where You Live” (from My Fair Lady, his final pop top ten) and “An Affair to Remember” (from the movie of the same name). His six original, long-playing albums on Columbia between 1957 and 1961 were That Towering Feeling, Angela Mia, Closer Than a Kiss, This Game of Love, On the Swingin’ Side and Young and Lively.

Another Great Video! Elizabeth Montgomery, “Samantha from Bewitched” and Vic Damone singing the Roger’s and Hart tune, “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” Listen to how great Elizabeth Montgomery’s voice is here!!

In 1961, he was released by Columbia, moving over to Capitol Records, where he filled in the gap left by Frank Sinatra’s leaving to help found Reprise Records. He lasted at Capitol only until 1965; however, he recorded some of his most highly-regarded albums there, including two which made the Billboard chart, Linger Awhile with Vic Damone and The Lively Ones, the latter with arrangements by Billy May, who also arranged another of Damone’s Capitol albums, Strange Enchantment. Other original Capitol albums included My Baby Loves to Swing, The Liveliest, and On the Street Where You Live.

In the summers of 1962 and 1963 Damone hosted a television variety series on NBC called The Lively Ones, which showcased current jazz, pop and folk performers as well as comedians. His distinguished group of musical guests over two seasons included Count Basie, Louie Bellson, Dave Brubeck, Chris Connor, Matt Dennis, Frances Faye, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Buddy Greco, Woody Herman, Jack Jones, Stan Kenton, Gene Krupa, Peggy Lee, Nellie Lutcher, Shelly Manne, Anita O’Day, Ruth Olay, Oscar Peterson, Andre Previn, Della Reese, Shorty Rogers, Cal Tjader, and Joe Williams.

Singing, “Maria” from West Side Story

Other notable television work during this time included Damone’s three guest appearances on Judy Garland‘s CBS variety series The Judy Garland Show (1963-64). In addition to his solo performances on these three episodes, Damone and Garland sang duet medleys of songs from Porgy and Bess, West Side Story, and Kismet.

In 1965 Damone moved next to Warner Bros. Records, releasing the albums You Were Only Fooling and Country Love Songs. On Warners he had one chart hit: “You Were Only Fooling (While I Was Falling In Love).” The next year he moved again, to RCA Victor Records, releasing the albums Stay with Me, Why Can’t I Walk Away, On the South Side of Chicago and The Damone Type of Thing. In 1969 he released his last US chart record, a cover of the 1966 song “To Make A Big Man Cry”, which made the Billboard Easy Listening chart.

In 1971, Damone started touring Las Vegas casinos as a performer, and although he had to declare bankruptcy in the early 1970s, he earned enough as a casino performer to clear up his financial difficulties. He extended his geographical range, touring through the United States and the United Kingdom, and as a result of his popularity decided to record some albums again, releasing them on the RCA label.

His final album was issued in 2002, with other albums being re-packaged and re-released. He has recorded over 2,000 songs over his entire career.

He has garnered new fans following the launch of the Vic Damone website in 2002 (www.vicdamone.com), managed by William “Bill” Karant.

His final performance was on January 19, 2002 at the Raymond Kravis Performing Arts Center in West Palm Beach, Florida.

In Brett Ratner‘s movie Money Talks, Chris Tucker‘s character sees a commercial about Vic Damone and then pretends to be Damone’s son.

On June 12, 2009, Vic Damone released his autobiography titled Singing Was the Easy Part from St. Martin’s Press.

Sources: Wikipedia, vicdamone.com, imdb.com, YouTube

Quick Bio Information: Source: nndb.com

Vic  DamoneVic Damone, AKA Vito Rocco Farinola

Born: 12-Jun1928

Birthplace: Brooklyn, NY
Occupation: Singer, Actor

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Singer of ballads

Military service: US Army (1951-53)

Father: (electrician)
Mother: (piano teacher, last name Damone)
Wife: Pier Angeli (actress, m. 1954, div. 1958, one son)
Wife: Judith Rawlins (b. 24-Jun-1936, m. 1963, div. 1971, d. 28-Mar-1974, three daughters)
Daughter: Victoria Farinola (b. 1965)
Daughter: Andrea Farinola (b. 1966)
Daughter: Daniella Farinola (b. 1968)
Wife: Becky Ann Jones (m. 1974, div. 1982)
Wife: Diahann Carroll (musician and actress, m. 3-Jan-1987, div. 1996)
Wife: Rena Rowan (fashion designer, m. 1998)

High School: Lafayette High School, Brooklyn, NY (left before graduating)
Rudy Giuliani Presidential Committee
Hollywood Walk of Fame 1731 Vine Street (recordings)
Wedding: Donald Trump and Melania Knauss (2005)

TELEVISION
The Morey Amsterdam Show Nightclub Singer (1949-50)

FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
Hell to Eternity (30-Sep-1960)
The Gift of Love (11-Feb-1958) [VOICE]
Kismet (8-Oct-1955)
Hit the Deck (3-Mar-1955)
Deep in My Heart (9-Dec-1954)
Athena (4-Nov-1954)
The Strip (Aug-1951) Himself
Rich, Young and Pretty (9-Jul-1951)

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1 Comment

  1. Yes, the lad could sing, but my my, he looked good! Apparently still does!!


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