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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.

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

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly and the main blogger at Booman Tribune.