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What was Perry Como’s Net Worth?
Perry Como was an American singer and television personality who had a net worth of $40 million at the time of his death. Popular for his easy-listening recordings, friendly personality, and laid-back manner, he sold millions of records and helped pioneer the weekly variety television show format. Perry Como was born in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania in May 1912 and passed away in May 2001. Como also hosted and popularized the weekly musical variety TV series concept. He won five Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award, and a Christopher Award. Como received a Kennedy Center Honor in 1987 and was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame in 1990. In 2002 he posthumously received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and he has stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for television, radio, and music. Perry Como was described by Bing Crosby as “the man who invented casual”. Perry Como passed away on May 12, 2001 at 88 years old.
Perry Como’s career spanned more than 50 years, during which time he sold tens of millions of records with the RCA Victor label. He actually sold so many records that he asked the record company to stop counting.
In 1959 he signed a deal with NBC that would pay him $1.2 million per year. That’s roughly $10 million today after adjusting for inflation.
Perry Como was born on May 18, 1912 in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania as the seventh of 13 children of Italian immigrants Pietro and Lucia. Growing up, he attended music lessons and learned a variety of different instruments. In his teenage years, Como played trombone in his town’s brass band, sang at weddings, and served as an organist at his church. Despite his musical skill, however, he was more focused on becoming the best barber in Canonsburg, and by the age of 14 owned his own shop.
Music and Radio Career
In 1932, Como left Canonsburg and moved to Meadville, Pennsylvania, a regular stop for dance bands that toured the Ohio Valley. In nearby Cleveland, Ohio, Como met singer Freddy Carlone at the Silver Slipper Ballroom. Invited on stage to perform, Como so impressed Carlone that he was immediately offered a job with the band. He performed with Carlone’s band for three years before taking a position with Ted Weems and his orchestra. Como eventually left that band in late 1942. He was subsequently contacted by Tommy Rockwell at General Artists Corporation, who offered him his own radio show and promise of a recording contract. Como made his debut radio broadcast on CBS in March of 1943; later in the year, he signed to RCA Victor and recorded the song “Goodbye, Sue.” During this time, he achieved great success performing in theaters and nightclubs, including the renowned Copacabana in New York City. His popularity grew as the crooning craze reached its apex, and soon he began hosting another radio program, “The Chesterfield Supper Club.”
After a long break from regular performing, Como returned in 1970 for an engagement in Las Vegas at the International Hotel. He continued to do occasional performances in both Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe after that. In 1974, Como made his first concert appearance outside the US at a show in London; he returned to the United Kingdom for a number of other engagements, including a concert tour in 1975. In the 1980s, Como performed with Frank Sinatra at a White House dinner and toured the US on a 50th Anniversary tour. He also began co-hosting the weekly syndicated radio show “Weekend with Perry” with John Knox; it aired from 1989 until Como’s passing in 2001.
Como transitioned to television on Christmas Eve, 1948 when his radio show “The Chesterfield Supper Club” was televised for the first time. The program continued to be televised through 1949, after which it was moved to CBS under the name “The Perry Como Chesterfield Show.” In 1955, Como returned to NBC and launched his best-known program, “The Perry Como Show,” a weekly hour-long variety show. It was during this time that he began donning his signature cardigan sweaters. Joining Como on the show was his announcer Frank Gallop, who served as a foil to his jokes.
In 1959, Como signed a deal with Kraft Foods and began hosting the weekly program “Perry Como’s Kraft Music Hall.” His popularity made him the highest-paid performer in television history at the time. Although Como began cutting back on his television appearances by the late 1960s, he continued to host various seasonal and holiday specials, particularly ones for Christmas. Como had Christmas specials all the way through 1994, when he filmed his final one at the Point Theatre in Dublin, Ireland.
Thanks to his Hollywood-level good looks, Como landed a seven-year contract with 20th Century Fox in 1943. He went on to appear in four films for the studio through 1946: “Something for the Boys,” “March of Time,” “Doll Face,” and “If I’m Lucky.” After those, he was in the 1948 MGM musical “Words and Music,” which was his final film.
Honors and Awards
Como was the recipient of numerous honors and accolades for his decades-long entertainment career. In the 1950s, he won a Grammy Award for Best Vocal Performance, Male; five Emmy Awards; a Christopher Award; and a Peabody Award, which he shared with his friend Jackie Gleason. Later, in 1987, Como earned a Kennedy Center Honor. He received a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002 and was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2006. Notably, Como has three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one each for his work in the fields of music, radio, and television.
Personal Life and Death
In the summer of 1933, Como married Roselle Belline, whom he had met a few years earlier at a local picnic. Together, they had three children named Ronnie, David, and Terri. After 65 years of marriage, Roselle passed away in 1998.
On May 12, 2001, Como passed away in his sleep at his home in Jupiter Inlet Colony, Florida. Reportedly, he had suffered from symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Como was six days away from turning 89.
Jupiter Florida Mansion
In his later years, Perry Como lived in a 6,000 square foot waterfront mansion in Jupiter Inlet Colony, Florida. His estate sold the home in September 2002 for $3.25 million. Today the home is worth an estimated $17 million.
All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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