Vic Damone

Vic Damone (born June 12, 1928) is an American singer and entertainer.


Early life

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.

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 an Italian American actress, 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. He appeared as Stan Skylar in the 1960 episode "Piano Man" of CBS's anthology series The DuPont Show with June Allyson.

In 1955, Damone had only one song on the charts, "Por Favor," which did not make it above #73. However, he did have a major role in the movie musical, Kismet. In early 1956, he was dropped by Mercury, but was able to sign with 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).

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.

Damone moved next to Warner Bros. Records. 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 Records, but 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.

Later career

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 (, managed by his son-in-law, William "Bill" Karant.

His final performance was on January 19, 2002 at the Raymond Kravits Performing Arts Center in 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. Martins Press.

Personal life

Damone has married five times and divorced four:

1) The Italian actress Anna Maria Pierangeli (Pier Angeli) (1954???1958) (one son)
2) Judith Rawlins (1963???1971) (three daughters - Victoria Damone-Cooper, Andrea Damone-Karant, Daniella Damone-Woodard)
3) Becky Ann Jones (1974???1982), the American entertainer
4) Diahann Carroll (1987???1996) (This relationship is referenced in the 1997 film Money Talks, in which Chris Tucker's character claims to be Vic Damone Jr., the son of Damone and Carroll)
5) Rena Rowan (1998 to date), the fashion designer and co-creator of Jones New York (Jones Apparel Group). Damone has 6 grandchildren from his daughters.

In the late 1950s, Damone was introduced to the Bah??'? Faith by a drummer in his band. Damone relates his rendition of "On the Street Where You Live" incorporates gestures meant to summon a sustaining vitality from `Abdu'l-Bah??. He officially joined the religion in the early 1960s.


In 1997, Damone received his high school diploma from Lafayette High School in Brooklyn when officials with the school granted credits for life experience and asked him to give the commencement address - advising students to "Have spiritual guidance. Don't lose God. There is a God. Trust me."

In 1997, Damone received the "Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award" from the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Frank Sinatra said that Damone had "the best set of pipes in the business".

For his contribution to the recording industry, Vic Damone has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1731 Vine Street in Los Angeles, California.


The following songs recorded by Damone made the Billboard charts:

"An Affair to Remember" (#16) (1957)
"Again" (#6) (1949) (bigger hit for Doris Day, but a gold record for Damone)
"April in Portugal" (#10) (1953)
"Calla Calla" (#13) (1951)
"Can Anyone Explain? (No! No! No!)" (#25) (1950) (bigger hit for The Ames Brothers)
"Cincinnati Dancing Pig" (#11) (1950)
"Do I Love You (Because You???re Beautiful)" (#62) (1957)
"Ebb Tide" (#10) (1953)
"Eternally (The Song From Limelight)" (#12) (1953)
"Four Winds and Seven Seas" (#16) (1949)
"Gigi" (#88) (1958)
"God???s Country" (#27) (1950)
"Here in My Heart" (#8) (1952) (bigger hit for Al Martino)
"If" (#28) (1951) (bigger hit for Perry Como)
"I Have But One Heart" (#7) (1947)
"It???s Magic" (#24) (1948) (bigger hit for Doris Day)
"Jump Through the Ring" (#22) (1952)
"Just Say I Love Her" (#13) (1950)
"Longing for You" (#12) (1951)
"Music By the Angels" (#18) (1950)
"My Bolero" (#10) (1949)
"My Heart Cries for You" (#4) (1950) (bigger hit for Guy Mitchell)
"My Truly, Truly Fair" (#4) (1951) (bigger hit for Guy Mitchell)
"On the Street Where You Live" (#4) (1956)
"Por Favor" (#73) (1955)
"Rosanne" (#23) (1952)
"Say Something Sweet to Your Sweetheart" (#23) (1948) (duet with Patti Page)
"Sugar" (#13) (1953)
"Sitting By the Window" (#29) (1950)
"Take My Heart" (#30) (1952)
"Tell Me You Love Me" (#21) (1951)
"Tomorrow Never Comes" 1952
"Tzena, Tzena, Tzena" (#7) (1950) (bigger hit for The Weavers)
"Vagabond Shoes" (#17) (1950)
"War and Peace" (#59) (1956)
"Why Was I Born?" (#20) (1949)
"Wonder Why" (#21) (1951)
"You Do" (#7) (1947)
"You're Breaking My Heart" (#1) (1949) (Damone's 2nd gold record and his biggest hit)
"You Were Only Fooling (While I Was Falling in Love)" (#30) (1965)

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Original Wikipedia article: Damone