Singer Al Martino, known for hits such as "Here in My Heart," and "Spanish Eyes," and for playing singer Johnny Fontane in "The Godfather," died today at his home in Springfield, Delaware County, his family confirmed tonight.
Martino, who turned 82 on Oct. 7, was born in South Philadelphia as Alfred Cini and enlisted as a teenager in the military to serve in World War II. He had his first blockbuster hit in 1952 with "Here in My Heart," and has worked steadily ever since, continuing to record and perform around the world.
"I have so many wonderful memories of my father I don't even know where to start," said his son Al Cini this evening. He also praised his father's "warmth and great sense of humor," adding that the family was just beginning to talk about arrangements. Martino has two other children, daughters Alison Martino and Alana Cini. He is also survived by his wife Judi and several grandchildren.
"He was the last of the show business legends. There's nobody else. The last of the performers. A magnificent voice," said Jerry Blavat who was shocked when we called him with the news. He dined Monday night with Martino and Judi at Le Virtu (1927 E. Passyunk). "He looked good, I can't believe it," said Blavat, who has played Martino's songs for years, including his newest single "Trying to Find My Way Back to You."
Here's a full obituary by Jack Morrison in Wednesday's Daily News.