Richard Hayes, a pop singer who scored several hits in the early 1950s and later reinvented himself as a radio talk show host, died March 10 in Los Angeles after a long illness.
He was 84.
Born in Brooklyn in 1930, he had early success as a recording artist while still in his teens. Between 1948 and 1953 he had 14 top 25 hits, said his son, Jim Hayes. That included four top-10 hits, all on the Mercury label. His most successful record was "The Old Master Painter," produced by Mitch Miller, which reached No. 2 on the national charts in December 1949.
Miller would later pair Hayes with thrush Kitty Kallen. The duo had minor hits with “Our Lady of Fatima,” a religious song, and the novelty tune “Aba Daba Honeymoon.” His version of “Babalu,” recorded with Xavier Cugat, was used years later in the Woody Allen film Radio Days, Hayes recounted in a 2004 interview with writer Rex Strother.
Hayes was considered a crooner, and when that genre began to fade, he turned his attention to radio and TV. He was a regular on the radio with Robert Q Lewis and Arthur Godfrey, both of whom had popular entertainment programs. He was a cast member on the ABC television program "Two Girls" and hosted several game shows including "Supermarket Sweep" and "All About Faces," said his son.
In the late 1970s he moved into a third career. He became a congenial radio host, first at WMCA in New York, then at WWDB-FM and WCAU-AM in Philadelphia, his son said.
Hayes is survived by his four children, Drew, Jackie, Jim and Gideon and several grandchildren.
Services were held Friday in Los Angeles.