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Tony Orlando

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Born and raised in New York City, Tony began hitting the national charts at the young age of 16 with Halfway to Paradise and Bless You. Later he routed his musical career to the non-performance side and became one of the youngest vice presidents for CBS Records, heading the April-Blackwood publishing.

Through no plans of his own, Tony was coaxed into putting his voice on a demo record for a song titled Candida for two friends at Bell Records. The record was released under the name of the record promotion director's daughter, Dawn. A few weeks after recording Candida, the song kept climbing the charts till it hit number one.

Hoping lightning would strike twice, Tony recorded Knock Three Times. The song not only became No. 1, it was the top song of 1971, selling over six million copies worldwide. The immense popularity of the song is still evident today and was featured in the hit movie Now and Then. Realizing it was probably safe to give up his successful career at CBS Records, Tony jumped full force into what was already a meteoric rise to the top. Along with Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent-Wilson, Tony Orlando and Dawn became an international sensation. In 1973, Tony recorded Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree. The song was No. 1 for the year. The song became Tony's theme song and grew into an American anthem of hope and homecoming, reunion and renewal.

A string of hits continued, including Sweet Gypsy Rose, He Don't Love You, Who's In The Strawberry Patch with Sally, Cupid, Steppin Out (Gonna Boogie Tonight) and Mornin' Beautiful.

Tony then set his sights on television, which resulted in his highly rated weekly variety series on CBS. Breaking new ground, it was the first multi-ethnic variety show on television. Tony, of Hispanic and Greek origins, and Telma and Joyce, African Americans, were an instant hit. The show ran for four seasons and welcomed the biggest names in show business as guests each week, including Jerry Lewis.

The friendship forged by Tony and Jerry was a strong one. Tony has been a guest on Jerry's Labor Day Telethon for 23 years, and recently was named the Vice-President of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. This year Tony returns to host the New York broadcast of the 2003 Jerry Lewis Telethon. Tony and Jerry also teamed up for an unforgettable series of shows in the early '90s, taking the stage at the Las Vegas Hilton and Rivera hotels. Only two other entertainers share the distinction of performing with Lewis: Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.

In March of 2002, Tony was voted Best All-Around Las Vegas Performer. One year later, he celebrated his 42nd anniversary in show business. His recent autobiography, Halfway To Paradise, relates the events of his life - from a young teen idol to a music industry executive to pop music and television star as part of the group Tony Orlando and Dawn - with honesty. In his book, Tony recounts wonderful stories including his appearance on American Bandstand. Unfortunately his fly was unzipped during the entire performance.

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