Tony Bennett turned 90 today, and he’s still going. His father was a Queens grocer and his mother was a seamstress. I doubt that they could have imagined the life their son would lead or the world that he’s living in today. After fighting in World War Two and helping to liberate a concentration camp, his career as a singer was launched by Pearl Bailey and Bob Hope. It was apparently Hope who anglicized his name from Anthony Benedetto.

The war made him a pacifist and having the still-segregated army demote him for eating with his black childhood friend made a lasting impression on him. Later on, Henry Belafonte Jr. convinced Bennett to march with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and that’s how he wound up at Selma.

I could write all day about what a talent and overall great guy Tony Bennett is, but I’ll just wish him a very happy birthday and let him sing for us.

YouTube video

NBC will air his birthday shindig on Dec. 20th.

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Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly. See all his writing at