Singer Jerry Vale, a popular singer from the 1950s who recorded more than 50 albums as a romantic pop artist and is best known for his 1956 song, "You Don't Know Me,” has died at the age of 83 at his home in Palm Desert, Calif., on Sunday, media reports said, citing his family attorney.
Vale died surrounded by his family and friends, Harold J. Levy, his attorney reportedly said, in a statement, adding that he had been in declining health for several years. Vale is survived by his wife of 55 years, Rita, a son, Robert, and a daughter, Pamela.
Vale was born Genaro Louis Vitaliano in the Bronx borough of New York on July 8, 1930, and rose to fame performing in supper clubs as a teenager. He hit the charts for the first time with “You Can Never Give Me Back My Heart” in 1953 and released more than 50 albums over the years. He popularized Italian romantic songs with renditions of “Innamorata (Sweetheart)” in 1956 and “I Have But One Heart” in 1962.
Vale's recording of "The Star-Spangled Banner" in the 1960s was played at Yankee Stadium and his gold record of the national anthem was displayed at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.
His songs "Pretend You Don't See Her" and "Love Me the Way I Love You" were featured in Martin Scorsese's "Goodfellas" and "Casino" respectively, along with cameo appearances as himself in these movies. His autobiography, “Jerry Vale: A Singer’s Life,” written with Richard Grudens, was published in 2000, in which he mentioned meeting his longtime idol, Frank Sinatra.
“A few years ago I had heard so many negative stories about Frank that I was somewhat apprehensive to approach him,” Vale reportedly wrote in his autobiography. “To my absolute surprise, he wound up being quite amiable, and the most caring individual that I have ever known.”