Item 2008.001.1679 - [Portrait of Vic Damone]

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

[Portrait of Vic Damone]

General material designation

  • Graphic material

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Item

Repository

Reference code

2008.001.1679

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Date(s)

  • ca. 1950 (Creation)
    Creator
    A. Gilbert Studios

Physical description area

Physical description

1 photograph: 12.5 x 10

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Name of creator

(1922-present)

Administrative history

AI Gilbert's father Nathan opened the Elite Photography Studio on Queen Street West in 1922. AI began working there during the 1940s and took over the business when his father retired. Now in its 88th year, Gilbert Studio continues to operate at 170 Davenport Road, Toronto, Ontario.

Name of creator

(1928-2018)

Biographical history

He was born Vito Rocco Farinola in Brooklyn, New York, one of five children, and the only son, of Mamie (nee Damone) and Rocco Farinola, who lived in Bensonhurst, a predominantly Italian neighbourhood. When Mamie was hospitalized with pneumonia in 1931, Rocco taught his son to sing "You’re Driving Me Crazy" at her bedside. Although Rocco expected Vito to follow him in becoming an electrician, the young boy was more interested in his mother’s skills as a pianist.
Vito attended Lafayette high school in Brooklyn and also worked delivering groceries from the age of 12. On leaving school, he became an usher at the Paramount theatre in New York. When the up-and-coming Perry Como performed at the Paramount, Vito stopped the lift between floors and asked Como to hear his voice. Como told him to stick with it, so he took his mother’s maiden name to attempt a singing career as Vic Damone.
In 1946 Damone had success on a radio talent show hosted by Arthur Godfrey. He had his first US hit the following year, with I Have But One Heart, which he sang in Italian and English, and he followed it with "Say Something Sweet to Your Sweetheart," a duet with Patti Page. He released a couple more hit songs, topping the charts in 1949. In 1951, Damone appeared in the film musicals Rich, Young and Pretty with Jane Powell and The Strip with Mickey Rooney and Louis Armstrong. He served for two years in the US army during the Korean war, entertaining the troops in Germany and appearing on the forces’ station AFN. In 1955 Damone co-starred in the lavish Hollywood musicals Hit the Deck and Kismet. The next year he recorded On the Street Where You Live, a song from the new Broadway success, My Fair Lady. His beautifully controlled vocal resulted in a US Top 10 hit and he also released a successful album, That Towering Feeling!, inspired by the song.
Damone had a stroke in 2000 but recovered sufficiently to undertake a farewell tour which included Carnegie Hall and the Hollywood Bowl. He retired to Miami and his final performance was at West Palm Beach in 2011.
He was divorced four times. His fifth wife, Rena Rowan, whom he married in 1998, died in 2016.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Item is a studio headshot of man with curly hair, wearing jacket, sweater vest and tie. Verso ink stamps: "Vic Damone," "This portrait through courtesy of A. Gilbert Studios, Toronto."

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Physical condition

good.

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Open. Records are available for consultation without restriction.

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General note

Vic Damone (b. 1928) was an Italian-American singer. He also appeared in several movies.

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