There are few celebrities whose fame spans as many decades as the legendary Tony Bennett. (It’s hard not to use the word legendary when describing him, isn’t it?) Rising to fame in the 1950s, Bennett, born Anthony Dominick Benedetto, sang his way through the next decade and a half with hits like “I Left my Heart in San Francisco,” “The Best is Yet to Come,” and “I’ve got the World on a String.” Like many great performers, he struggled through some of his career. The late ’60s and ’70s were particularly difficult for the crooner and included struggles with drug addiction, divorce, and a short-lived record label. But his 1990’s comeback was one for the ages (via All Music).
From his widely adored MTV Unplugged session in 1994, to his fabulous duets with an array of including Lady Gaga Elton John, and k.d. lang (via Palm Springs Desert Sun), Bennett’s commitment to creating music has paid off — perhaps more than you’d think. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Bennett is worth $200 million.
Tony Bennett has won 19 Grammys over the course of his storied career and collaborated with dozens of artists from Queen Latifah, to Diana Krall, to The Chicks, Michael Bublé, Paul McCartney, and many more. One of Bennett’s signatures as an artist is his insistence on recording each duet live with the artist he is singing with, rather than relying on studio mixing to combine vocals. This stems from Bennett’s belief in the power of a live performance (via Cheat Sheet).
Tony Bennett has collaborated with many different artists during his career
In December of 2016, Bennett celebrated his 90th birthday with Tony Bennett Celebrates 90, which was both a album and a companion piece to an NBC special of the same name (via All Music). The work celebrated the singer’s long career and love of music. But that same year, the Bennett family was privately struggling with some sad news. As revealed in a just-released profile of the singer by AARP magazine, Tony Bennett has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Bennett, 94, remains active. He works out five times a week and sings twice a week, his wife, Susan Benedetto, told Gayle King in an interview with CBS This Morning. Benedetto explained to King why they decided to come out with the news now. “He always likes to say he’s in the business of making people feel good,” Benedetto said. “And so he never wanted the audience to know if he had a problem. But, obviously, you know, as long, you know, as things have progressed, it becomes more and more obvious when you interact with Tony that there’s something up. And so it just seemed like now was the right time.” She also revealed in the interview that he still recognizes her and his family.
As reported by AARP, Dr. Gayatri Devi, the neurologist who diagnosed Bennett, said, “He is doing so many things, at 94, that many people without dementia cannot do. He really is the symbol of hope for someone with a cognitive disorder.”
This morning, Tony Bennet’s Twitter shared simply, “Life is a gift — even with Alzheimer’s. Thank you to Susan and my family for their support, and @AARP The Magazine for telling my story.”
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