Accomplished crooner Vic Damone, famously described by Frank Sinatra as having the “best pipes in the business,” died on Sunday, Fox News reports. He was 89.
The “On the Street Where You Live” singer passed away at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Florida, of undisclosed causes, his relatives confirmed.
Born Vito Rocca Farinola in Brooklyn, New York, on June 12, 1928, Damone got his first break at age 14 when he met Perry Como by chance in an elevator at the Paramount Theater in New York. Damone, who dropped out of high school to work as a theater usher, famously stopped the elevator between floors and began belting out songs for Como.
Damone produced dozens of hits throughout his five-decade career in the music industry, using his smooth baritone vocals to charm audiences. Inspired by Sinatra and other crooners of the golden era, he signed with Mercury Records to produce smooth tunes including “You’re Breaking My Heart” and “My Heart Cries For You.”
Later, the artist signed with MGM to showcase his talents on the big screen for The Strip and Rich, Young and Pretty. From 1956-57, he hosted The Vic Damone Show, a variety program created after his return from a military tour of duty. But despite his successful television run, he said he never considered himself a true crossover talent.
“I never thought of myself that way,” Damone wrote in his memoir. “That wasn’t my particular gift. My gift was singing.”
In total, Damone recorded more than 2,500 songs and was a part of the ‘50s heartthrobs who became famous after World War II, which also included Sinatra, Como, Tony Bennett and Dean Martin.
Damone is survived by six grandchildren and two sisters, Elaine Seneca and Terry Sicuso. Two other sisters proceeded him in death: Sandy Boucher and Pia Romeo. The singer is also survived by three sons-in-law, William Karant, Michael Woodard and Joel Brown.
His late wife Rena Rowan Damone died in 2016.
Photo credit: Getty / Herb Ball / NBC