Perry Como Dead at 88

One of the last of the legendary crooners has passed away. Laid-back singer Perry Como, whose career stretched from the 1930s to the 1980s, died on Saturday at his home in Florida, The Palm Beach Post reported. He was 88.

The newspaper cited his daughter Terry Thibadeau as saying the veteran singer died in his sleep at his home in Jupiter Inlet Beach Colony.

Como, who started out serenading customers in a barbershop, soared to fame with a relaxed singing style. Although he appeared in a few Hollywood musicals in the 1940s, it was on television that he really felt at home, and he achieved enormous popularity on the small screen on the long-running Perry Como Show, which won him an Emmy in 1956.

At 21, Como embarked on a career as a professional entertainer, eventually leading to a $25 million television contract and sales of well over 50 million records.

By the end of the 1940s, Como had become a superstar with easy-listening ballads such as "Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes," "Catch a Falling Star," and "It's Impossible."

Pierino Roland Como was born in Canonsburg, Penn., on May 18, 1912, the seventh son of a seventh son, a traditional sign of luck in Italian families.

He married his childhood sweetheart and soon after won national exposure while touring the country as a featured singer with the Ted Weems Band. He and his wife had three children.

Como retired briefly in the early 1970s but could not resist going back to work and, well into his 60s, had more hit records.

In 1980, 1982, and 1984, he was the host of Christmas specials on television, broadcast from Israel, Paris, and London, respectively.

Reuters contributed to this story.