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The BBC's Rosie Millard
"Perry Como will always be remembered for his ageless and effortless"
 real 56k

Entertainer, Andy Williams
"Most at ease in front of a camera"
 real 28k

Sunday, 13 May, 2001, 21:18 GMT 22:18 UK
Crooner Perry Como dies
Perry Como
Como only stopped touring in recent years
The singer Perry Como, known for his hugely popular easy-listening style, has died at his home in Florida.

He was 87 and had been ill for some time.

Como died in his sleep at his home in Jupiter Inlet Beach Colony, his daughter Terry Thibadeau said.

One of the best-known American singers of the past 50 years, he sold more than 100 million records over a 60-year career, with 27 of his records going gold.

Perry Como
Como sold more than 100 million records during his career
His most popular songs included For The Good Times, Magic Moments, It's Impossible and Catch A Falling Star.

It was only in recent years that he stopped touring.

His friend and fellow performer Andy Williams paid tribute to the star, telling the BBC that Como had the "sweetest, loveliest voice of any pop singer".

"I admired him so much because he was the most at ease in front of a camera - and in front of an audience too," said Williams.

Como's death was also mourned by fans in Japan where his television shows triumphed over the language barrier

"Perry Como charmed us with his sweet and soft voice and his songs were permeated with his sincere personality," said Japanese music critic Hideo Asai.

"Como's death means the end of an era, " he added.


Como was one of 13 children born to an Italian-American family in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania.

He began his musical career in the 1930s, when he left his job as a barber to sing with big bands.

In 1945, Como had his first million-selling hit, Till the End of Time. It was among many songs that topped the charts.

His songs were a mainstay of radio and jukeboxes in the late 1940s, and in the 1950s and '60s, his television shows, particularly Christmas specials, drew huge audiences.

He competed with Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby to be the era's top crooner.

In Britain he enjoyed 12 top ten hits over two decades, starting with 1953's Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes and finishing with 1973's For The Good Times.

Laid-back style

Como said he occasionally tired of the jokes about his laid-back style.

However, he did find one spot on a TV comedy show particularly amusing, which showed an impersonator lying on the floor nearly comatose with a microphone in front of his barely moving lips.

His casual legend grew from his first pressure-packed appearances on the then medium of live television.

"I decided the only thing to do was take it as it came," he recalled in a 1985 interview. "People wrote in asking how I could be so casual. It all started to grow."

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13 May 01 | Americas
Perry Como: From clipper to crooner
13 May 01 | Music
The rise and rise of Lounge
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