Perry Como, the `man who invented casual', dies in Florida, aged 87

Perry Como has died after a lengthy illness, it was announced yesterday in Jupiter, Florida

Perry Como has died after a lengthy illness, it was announced yesterday in Jupiter, Florida. The singer (87) died on Saturday in his sleep at his home, police said.

Como, the crooning baritone famous for his relaxed vocals and cardigans, started performing in the 1930s. His idol, Bing Crosby, once called him "the man who invented casual".

Como left his job as a steel town barber to sing with big bands in the 1930s. In 1945 he had his first million-selling hit, Till the End of Time. It was among many songs including Prisoner of Love that topped the charts.

While Como emulated Crosby in his early years, some of his best-known numbers were light novelty songs like Hot Diggity and Papa Loves Mambo.


He made his TV debut in 1948 on NBC's Chesterfield Supper Club and in 1950 he switched to CBS for The Perry Como Show, which ran for five years.

His career saw a resurgence in the 1970s with songs like It's Impossible and And I Love You So. Other hits were Magic Moments and What Did Delaware, Boy.

In the 1990s his former hit, Catch a Falling Star - for which Como won a Grammy in 1958 - became familiar to a new generation as part of the Clint Eastwood-Kevin Costner film A Perfect World.

Pierino Roland Como was born on May 18th, 1913, in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, the middle offspring of 13 children of Italian immigrants. At the age of 11 he began work sweeping floors after school at a barbershop. By the age of 14 he had his own barber business.

In his later years Como lived in semi-retirement with his wife, Roselle, whom he met when he was 16 and married in 1933.