Jerry Vale, the famous velvet-voiced crooner, who first came to fame in the 1950s and 1960s, died over the weekend at the age of 83. Vale’s health had been deteriorating for some time. He died Sunday at his Palm Desert home surrounded by family and friends, family attorney Harold J. Levy said in a statement, via NPR.
The biggest hit of Vale’s career was the 1956 ballad You Don’t Know Me, but his long and storied run includes more than 50 albums full of wistful, evocative music. Vale was born Genaro Louis Vitaliano in New York in 1930. Vale started performing on the club circuit when he was a teenager in the late 40s and quickly got picked up by Paul Insetta, who was a road manager for Guy Mitchell and a hit songwriter. Vitaliano changed his name to Vale and a star was born.
Vale remained a popular club act throughout the second half of the XX century.
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Vale's recording of "The Star-Spangled Banner" in the 1960s was played at sporting events for years. His albums declined in popularity in the 70s, but he continued to be a popular club act. He also appeared as himself in the movies Goodfellas, Casino and the TV series The Sopranos. Vale is survived by his wife of 55 years, Rita, daughter Pamela and son Robert.