The Barber of Canonsburg
...Italian-American crooner, Perry Como (Pierino Roland Como) was born in [Canonsburg, Pennsylvania]...Como's success was phenomenal... Como had six older siblings. He also had six younger siblings! His parents (Pietro and Lucia Travaglini Como) were Italian immigrants from Palena, a mountain town about 130 kilometers (about 80 miles) due east of Rome, and about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the Adriatic coast. Pietro worked in a mill while young Pierino got a job in a barbershop and went on to own his own shop while still in high school. While in his early 20s Como married Roselle Belline, his high school sweetheart, his lifelong mate and mother of his two children.
Perry Como broke into the world of entertainment by singing in radio shows; but smoothly moved into television during the late 1940s. His television personality was defined by his mellow voice singing romantic songs, by his easy smile, and by his cardigan sweater and relaxed manner. He was especially adored by his female fans. Como was an ever-present television personality until the 1980s; a remarkable feat for a person who was so 'laid back' at a time that the national attention span was relentlessly shrinking.
Songs that must forever be attached to the Perry Como voice would include "Catch a Falling Star,"
"I'm always Chasing Rainbows,"
"Till the End of Time,"
"Sing Along With Me,"
"Hot Diggity Dog Ziggity Boom,"
and "It's Impossible." (above)
While many singers would be thrilled to have their record sell a million copies, Perry Como's total record sales have exceeded the 100 million mark! He won a couple of Emmy Awards and many other honors, prior to being presented by President Reagan with the Kennedy Center Award for outstanding achievement in the performing arts. Perry and Roselle spent their last years living in Florida. They celebrated 65 years of marriage a couple of weeks before her death in 1998. Perry joined her in 2001.
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