Thursday, April 18, 2024

Remembering Tony Bennett: Documentary Is Coming Detailing Lady Gaga Relationship, Family Overcome by Public Reaction to Passing

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EXCLUSIVE Tony Bennett‘s family is overwhelmed by the response to his death last week at age 96 (almost 97).

In particular, the front page obit in the New York Times just knocked them out, as well as pieces today in the paper. “It’s like a head of state dying,” Tony’s son and manager Danny told me.

The family does not know yet what they will do next. “Tony wasn’t into funerals,” Danny said. A memorial concert down the road is possible. Before Tony died, they were already planning a big centenary celebration for Tony’s 100th birthday three years from now.

The reason Tony has had such an outpouring of love from the public? He himself exuded love. He spoke to everyone. He was not a prima donna. He was a man of the people. He was a superstar and didn’t really care.

“Everyone has a story about meeting Tony Bennett,” Danny said. The one person who really has a story is Danny. “I didn’t revive his career,” he said, “I think I revived his audience. But Tony was always the same. It’s not like he started singing [contemporary pop songs]. He stuck to the classics. I remember him telling Gaga once, Just sing the words. Don’t improvise They knew what they were doing.’ She loved that.”

The relationship with Lady Gaga was extraordinary. Danny says he was on the phone with her all day last Friday. She’s very sad, of course. They loved each other and spoke the same language. I’m told that a documentary is being finished about their 10 year friendship.

Tony’s death was not unexpected because of his Alzheimers. But he had nothing else wrong with him Danny said. A few days before he passed he actually came into the living room and said to his adoring wife, Susan, What would you like to hear? Accompanied by piano, Tony sang Susan his first hit, “Because I of You.” The last words he said to Danny, his son says, were “Thank you.”

I’ve been covering celebrities etc since the 1980s. I have rarely met anyone as self effacing as Tony Bennett, or a family so devoted to their patriarch. Tony Bennett’s legacy will last forever. Believe the Benedetto’s will make sure of it.

PS I told Danny that the famous photographer Jill Krementz sent me this picture she took of Tony with Aretha Franklin because she knew how much both of them meant to me. That’s a big deal. I’m very grateful to her.

copyright c2023 Jill Krementz all rights reserved.

photo of Tony alone c2023 Showbiz411

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
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