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Singer and actor Vic Damone, dead at 89

Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images(FLORIDA) -- Singer and actor Vic Damone, one of the generation of crooners that included Frank Sinatra, died Sunday in Miami Beach, Florida at age 89. The Associated Press cites Damone's daughter, Victoria, as saying her father died in Cedars-Sinai hospital of respiratory distress.

Born Vito Farinloa in Brooklyn, New York, Damone had roles in a number of movies, including the hit movie musicals Kismet and Hit the Deck, and also hosted a summer TV variety series in the early 60’s.  But he was best known as a singer, scoring seven gold singles, including the 1949 #1 hit “You’re Breaking My Heart,” and his 1956 recording of the My Fair Lady song "On the Street Where You Live."Frank Sinatra once famously said Damone had, "the best pipes in the business."

Damone was married five times; his fourth wife was singer/actress Diahann Carroll.  In his 2009 autobiography, Singing was the Easy Part, Damone said a mob boss once threatened to throw him out a hotel window because he broke off an engagement to the boss’s daughter.

Damone was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1997.  He suffered a stroke in 2002 and retired from performing, but came out of retirement in 2011 to play to a sold-out crowd in Palm Beach, Florida. The show was dedicated to his six grandchildren, who had never seen him perform.

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