Tony Bennett Siblings: John Benedetto Jr., Mary Benedetto

Tony Bennett’s siblings are Mary Benedetto Tony Bennett (Tony’s sister) and John Benedetto Jr. (Tony’s brother). Both of Tony Bennett’s grandparents were Italian immigrants. His maternal grandmother, Mary “Mamie” Benvenuto, was born in the town of Spineta Palena, in the province of Palermo on January 30th, 1904. She married Anthony Benedetto when she was 16 years old and he was 26 years old. They had four children: Rose Marie (1927-2011), John Anthony “Johnny” Bennato(1930-1995), Jeanne Francesca (“Jenny”) Tony Bennato(1935-2010), and Phillip James Olindo BENNETTO II (b. 1938).

Interview with Roseanna Vitro entitled Tony Bennett: His Life in Art & Song What inspired you to become a singer? Has anyone in your family sing? Tony Bennett: I grew up in America during the Great Depression in a very poor time. It was a struggle, and my mom had to work for “a penny a dress” to put food on the table.

My father became very ill when I was about nine years old. He had a great reputation because he sang in Patagonia, in Calabria, Italy. The family story was that he sang on a mountain and the whole valley heard him. My father’s talent inspired my older brother to study opera.

My mother worked out some sort of arrangement for him to take Italian singing lessons, and by the age of fourteen, he was singing solos with the Metropolitan Opera. They called him “Little Caruso” in the days before television. He was on the Eddie Cantor radio show and he sang beautifully. I’ve always been influenced by him. I felt like I got a great workout.

Later he got tired of studying and started going to the Village where he fell in love with all the jazz artists. I wanted to do what he did. I would do it again. I fell in love with jazz straight away. He was about four years older than me. His name was John Benedetto. All the Things You Are p. 34 Mary, his sister, recalled in the documentary Tony Bennett: The Art of the Singer: “When they formed the band in Germany with the other soldiers, I remembered Tony saying that he decided at the time when he came home I really wanted to be a singer.

Speaking to Life magazine, Bennett recalled, “It was my brother, an aspiring opera singer, who said to me early on, ‘There’s this singer, a singer of popular songs. He’s really great. His name is Frank Sinatra and you need to check him out. So I went to see him at the Paramount.

 

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