The son of a grocer and Italian-born immigrant, Anthony Dominick Benedetto, aka Tony Bennett, was born on Aug. 3, 1926, in the Astoria section of Queens, New York. With worldwide record sales in the millions, Bennett has received 17 Grammy Awards including the prestigious Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. The MTV generation took to Bennett during his appearance with the Red Hot Chili Peppers on the 1993 MTV Video Awards. He appeared on MTV Unplugged and the recording of the same name earned him the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. "Tony Bennett has not just bridged the generation gap," observed The New York Times, "he has demolished it. He has connected with a younger crowd weaned on rock. And there have been no compromises."
Bennett’s initial fame came via a string of Columbia singles in the early 1950s, including such chart-toppers as "Because of You," "Rags To Riches" and a cover of Hank Williams’ "Cold, Cold Heart." He has placed two-dozen songs in the Top 40, including "I Wanna Be Around," "The Good Life," "Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)" and his signature hit, "I Left My Heart in San Francisco." One of only a few artists to have albums chart in the 1950s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, and the new millennium, he’s
introduced multitudes of songs into the Great American Songbook that have become pop music standards. Upon the release of his boxed set collection, TONY BENNETT: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION, The New York Times commented, "we aren’t likely to see a recording career like this again." Bennett made music history when he became the oldest artist at the age of 86 to achieve a #1 record on the Billboard charts with his DUETS II CD. Bennett is a Kennedy Center Honoree and an NEA Jazz Master.
A multiple Emmy winner, his prime-time special, TONY BENNETT: AN AMERICAN CLASSIC, which was directed by Oscar winner Rob Marshall ("Chicago," "Memoirs of a Geisha"), won seven Emmy Awards in 2007. Bennett has authored four books: his official biography, two books devoted to his artwork and the latest New York Times
Bestseller, Life Is a Gift. He is a dedicated painter whose interest in art began as a child. He continues to paint daily, even while touring. He has exhibited work around the
world, and three of his original paintings are part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.
Throughout his career, Bennett has always put his heart and time into humanitarian concerns. He’s raised millions for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. His original paintings each year grace the cover of the American Cancer Society’s holiday greeting card. He received Martin Luther King Center’s "Salute to Greatness Award" for his efforts to fight discrimination, having marched with Dr. Martin Luther King in 1965. The United Nations presented him with their 2007 Humanitarian Award. In honor of his great friend and staunchest supporter, Bennett established the Frank Sinatra School for the Arts, which opened as a New York City public high school, offering an extensive arts curriculum, in September of 2001. In 2009, a permanent site for the school opened in Bennett’s hometown of Astoria, Queens. With his wife Susan, they founded Exploring the Arts, which supports the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts and provides support to arts education in public schools.