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Remembering Vic Damone

The singer with 'the best pipes in the business'

Bob Hope Salutes the Ohio Jubilee

Vic Damone, one of the last smooth crooners of the post-World War II era, died of respiratory disease Sunday in Miami. He was 89.

The Brooklyn-born singer topped the charts only once—in 1949, with "You're Breaking My Heart"—but he enjoyed a long career as a recording artist, nightclub performer and occasional actor in movies and TV shows, including an episode of "The Dick Van Dyke Show."

Frank Sinatra once said Damone possessed "the best pipes in the business."

Damone earned similar praise from contemporaries like Tony Bennett, Perry Como and Dean Martin. His signature songs included 1956's "On the Street Where You Live" from the Broadway musical "My Fair Lady" and the theme from "An Affair to Remember," the classic 1957 movie starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr.

Damone almost became part of film lore in "The Godfather." He was initially offered the role of Johnny Fontane, the heartthrob singer who asks for his godfather's help in securing a key role in a war movie. But the role eventually went to another Italian-American crooner, Al Martino.

Damone was married five times, including to actress Diahann Carroll (they divorced in 1996 after nine years) and fashion designer Rena Rowan, who died in 2016. Survivors include three daughters with actress Judy Rawlins and six grandchildren.

Photo: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

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