Crooner Tony Bennett

Celebrities, Celebrity Q&A, People
on April 1, 2001

Is Tony Bennett the romantic singer's real name?
—Janey R., California

Tony Bennett, son of an Italian immigrant, was born Anthony Dominick Benedetto in 1926 in Astoria, Queens, N.Y. He sang at an early age, but his career began to take off in 1949 when he auditioned for a revue with Pearl Bailey. "Bob Hope heard me in the show and asked me to come up and sing at the Paramount Theater with him. He didn't like my stage name (Joe Bari) and asked me what my real name was. I told him 'Anthony Benedetto.' He thought a moment and said, 'That's too long for the marquee. We'll call you Tony Bennett.'" For the next 50 years, Bennett has made his mark with such hits as Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Just in Time, and of course, his signature song, I Left My Heart in San Francisco.