Popular crooner Vic Damone dies in Florida at 89


MIAMI (AP) — Vic Damone, whose mellow baritone once earned praise from Frank Sinatra as "the best pipes in the business," has died in Florida at the age of 89, his daughter said.

Victoria Damone told The Associated Press in a phone interview today her father died Sunday at a Miami Beach hospital from complications of a respiratory illness.

Damone's easy-listening romantic ballads brought him million-selling records and sustained a half-century career in recordings, movies and nightclub, concert and television appearances.

Damone's career began climbing in the 1940s after he won a tie on the radio show "Arthur Godfrey's Talent Hunt." His hit singles included "Again," ''You're Breaking My Heart," ''My Heart Cries for You," ''On the Street Where You Live" and, in 1957, the title song of the Cary Grant film "An Affair to Remember."

Damone's style as a lounge singer remained constant through the years: straightforward, concentrated on melody and lyrics without resorting to vocal gimmicks. Like many young singers of his era, his idol was Sinatra.

"I tried to mimic him," Damone said in a 1992 interview with Newsday. "I decided that if I could sound like Frank maybe I did have a chance. I was singing his words, breathing his breaths, [doing] his interpretation, with the high notes, the synergy."

Sinatra and Damone, along with Tony Bennett, Perry Como, Dean Martin and others comprised a group of Italian Americans who dominated the postwar pop music field. Far from resenting the mimicry, Sinatra praised Damone's singing ability.

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