Anthony Benedetto was born on Aug. 3, 1926, in Astoria, Queens. At the age of 9, he performed at the opening of the Triborough Bridge in New York on July 11, 1936. He has been wowing audiences and winning awards with his voice ever since.<br><br>Tony Bennett performs onstage as local radio disc jockey Bill Randle applauds and teenage girls scream in the audience at a high school in Cleveland, circa 1952.
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After serving in the Army during World War II, he started taking singing lessons at the American Theater Wing. He performed under the name Joe Bari, until he was discovered by singer Pearl Bailey in 1949. Bob Hope then took him under his wing, telling him to change his name to Tony Bennett and taking Bennett on his road show. “I’ve been on the road ever since,” Bennett said.<br><br> Bennett appears with actor Bob Hope on the television program "This Is Your Life," Nov. 18, 1970.
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In 1950, Bennett signed with Columbia Records, putting out such hits as “Rags To Riches” and “Cold, Cold Heart.” He also became interested in jazz music and recorded with some of the top jazz musicians of the day, such as Count Basie. He went on to score more than 30 Top 40 singles by 1965.<br><br>Tony Bennett sings in this photo taken circa. 1960.
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Composer Harold Arlen and Bennett appear on the television show “The Twentieth Century.” The episode is "The Songs of Harold Arlen," shown on Sept. 17, 1963.
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Few people realize Bennett is also an accomplished artist. Some of his works are in the Smithsonian’s permanent collection. Early in life, he had to choose between a career in commercial art and singing. Here, Bennett works on a canvas for pleasure at his Englewood, N.J., home on June 8, 1963.
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In 1962, Bennett released one of his biggest hits, “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” for which he won his first Grammy Awards for Best Record of the Year and Best Solo Vocal Performance. It has become his signature song.
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Harry Belafonte, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bennett at the conclusion of the third Selma to Montgomery March in Montgomery, Ala., on March 25, 1965. Bennett received a Salute To Greatness Award from the King Center for his support of civil rights.
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Bennett poses with his albums, circa 1970.
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Bennett left Columbia in the early 1970s and founded his own label, Improv. The label didn’t do well, and it went out of business by the end of the decade. Bennett then moved to Los Angeles. He struggled with substance use, but after a near-death experience, Bennett entered sobriety.
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His son Danny became his personal manager and helped him get his career back on track. Bennett re-signed with Columbia Records in 1986, releasing his first studio album in 10 years.<br><br>Tony Bennett poses for a portrait in Los Angeles in 1984.
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Bennett holds up his world's best-selling jazz artist of the year award during the World Music Awards in Monte Carlo, May 3, 1995.
Tony Bennett (top left), dancer Suzanne Farrell (bottom right), actress Julie Harris (bottom left), actor Robert Redford and singer Tina Turner are the Kennedy Center honorees for the year 2005. The broadcast aired Dec. 27, 2005.
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Bennett performs with a band in front of the Lincoln Memorial, Jan. 17, 1993, in Washington, D.C. Numerous musicians and performers gathered in front of the memorial to celebrate the inauguration of President Bill Clinton.
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Bennett sings "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" as San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Sergio Romo holds the World Series trophy at City Hall in San Francisco during the celebration for their 2012 World Series Championship, Oct. 31, 2012.
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In the ‘90s, Bennett released a series of tribute albums, including “Perfectly Frank” and “Steppin Out.” To commemorate his 80th birthday, Bennett released his “Duets” album. In 2011, he recorded the follow-up album “Duets II,” on which he sang with Lady Gaga.<br><br>Tony Bennett acknowledges the applause before he performs at The Theater at Madison Square Garden, Sept. 26, 2006, in New York.
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An 8-foot bronze statue of Bennett is unveiled in San Francisco, Aug. 19, 2016.
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Bennett poses with his award for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program for "Tony Bennett: An American Classic" at the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, Sept. 16, 2007.
In 2014, Bennett and Lady Gaga released an album of jazz standards called “Cheek To Cheek,” which won a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.<br><br>In this handout image provided by Patrick Beaudry, Bennett and Lady Gaga jazz it up at the Montreal Jazz Festival on July 1, 2014, in Montreal.
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Bennett sits among some of his paintings.
Tony Bennett performs onstage during the 17th Annual A Great Night In Harlem at The Apollo Theater on April 04, 2019, in New York.
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