Al Martino

Description   [from Freebase]

Al Martino (born Jasper Cini, October 7, 1927 – October 13, 2009) was an American singer and actor. He had his greatest success as a singer between the early 1950s and mid 1970s, being described as "one of the great Italian American pop crooners", and also became well known as an actor, particularly for his role as singer Johnny Fontane in The Godfather. Jasper "Al" Cini was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The name Jasper was an anglicisation of his father's name, Gasparino. His parents were immigrants from Abruzzo, Italy, who ran a construction business, and while growing up he worked alongside his brothers as a bricklayer. However, he was inspired to become a singer by emulating artists such as Al Jolson and Perry Como, and by the success of a family friend, Alfredo Cocozza, who had changed his name to Mario Lanza. After serving with the United States Navy in World War II, including being a part of the Iwo Jima invasion where he was wounded, Cini began his singing career. Encouraged by Lanza, he adopted the stage name Al Martino - Martino being the name of his mother's father - and began singing in local nightclubs.
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