FRANKIE AVALON Biography - Musicians


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Name: Frankie Avalon                                                                   
Born: September 18, 1939 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania                                   
Frankie Avalon and Didi Conn in Grease                                                 
Frankie Avalon (born Francis Thomas Avallone, September 18, 1939, Philadelphia,       
Pennsylvania) is an American actor, singer, and former teen idol.                     
By the time he was 12, Avalon began making appearances on U.S. television for         
his trumpet prowess, and as a teenager, played with Bobby Rydell in a band known       
as Rocco and the Saints. In 1959, his songs "Venus" and "Why" both went to             
number one on Billboard magazine's Hot 100. Indeed, "Why" was the last #1 hit of       
the 1950s. Avalon had 31 charted Billboard U.S. singles during his career from         
1958 to late 1962, with most of the hits written and/or produced by Bob Marcucci,     
head of Chancellor Records. In 1964, he was one of the artists to help open the       
Circle Star Theater in San Carlos, CA.                                                 
In his acting, he was best known for his starring roles in the teenage Beach           
Party film genre, though he also had straight dramatic parts in films such as         
The Alamo as well as Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Avalon also appeared in         
nearly two-dozen TV episodes, including a role in "The Patty Duke Show" titled "A     
Foggy Day in Brooklyn Heights," appearing as himself (Frankie Avalon). Later, he       
became the U.S. national television spokesperson for Sonic Drive-In.                   
The 1980 film The Idolmaker, written by Gene Kirkwood and directed by Taylor           
Hackford, was a thinly-disguised biography of Frankie Avalon (called "Tommy Dee"       
in the film) as well as 1950s teenage star Fabian (called "Caesare" in the film),     
as well as songwriter/producer Marcucci (called "Vinnie Vacarri" in the film).         
In the movie version, Tommy Dee clashes frequently with the producer and younger       
singer Caesare, whom he feels threatens his career as an upstart. Eventually,         
both "Dee" and "Caesare" quit the label, but both their record careers collapse,       
just as the British Invasion begins. The real-life Fabian threatened a lawsuit         
at the time of the film's release, though the filmmakers insisted that the film       
presented only fictional characters (though Marcucci was a paid consultant on         
the film). Avalon later denied most of the movie's events in interviews.               
Frankie Avalon married Kathryn Diebel on January 19, 1963. She was a former           
beauty pageant winner, and Avalon met her while playing cards at a friend's           
house. He told his friend that Kay was the girl he was going to marry. His agent       
warned Avalon not to marry, as it would spoil his teen idol mystique, but Avalon       
ignored his advice. Still together, the couple has eight children--in order of         
age, they are Frankie Jr., Tony, Dina, Laura, Joseph, Nicolas, Kathryn and Carla.     
They also have 10 grandchildren. Frankie Jr. is a drummer and Tony, the second         
oldest son, currently plays guitar and teaches at the Paul Green School of Rock;       
both still tour and perform with their father.                                         
In 1987 Avalon and Annette Funicello returned to the movies, with the aptly           
titled Back to the Beach. Not long afterwards, Funicello was diagnosed with MS,       
and retired from acting.                                                               
With the fading of his music and acting career, Avalon has turned to marketing,       
and has created Frankie Avalon Products, a successful line of health supplements       
and cosmetic products. Avalon personally promotes his products live on the Home       
Shopping Network, along with veteran host Bob Circosta.                               
He regularly guest stars in stage productions of Grease in the role of Teen           
Angel (a role he played in the popular 1978 film adaptation) and Tony n' Tina's       
Wedding as a characterized version of himself. Additionally, in 2007, he               
performed the song "Beauty School Dropout" with the four remaining female             
contenders (Kathleen Monteleone, Allie Schulz, Ashley Spencer, and winner Laura       
Osnes) for the role of Sandy on the NBC television reality show Grease: You're         
the One that I Want!. Also, his first son, Frank B Avalon Jr., frequently plays       
the drums on tour with his father.