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Bobby Rydell Dies at 79, Obituary, Photos, News, Wife

Bobby Rydell Dies at 79, Obituary, Photos, News, Wife
Bobby Rydell Dies at 79, Obituary, Photos, News, Wife

Bobby Rydell, a pompadoured early rock ‘n roll heartthrob who appeared on radio, television, and in the film musical “Bye Bye Birdie,” died on Tuesday. According to a statement released by his marketing and event planner Maria Novey, Rydell died of complications from pneumonia at a hospital in a suburb of his birthplace of Philadelphia.

Rydell, who attributed a kidney and liver transplant in 2012 for extending his life, died at the age of 79. Rydell was one of a wave of harmless adolescent idols who arose after Elvis Presley and before the rise of the Beatles, like James Darren, Fabian, and Frankie Avalon.

Bobby Rydell’s contribution to the television and music industry:

He had over three dozen Top 40 songs between 1959 and 1964, including “Wild One,” “Volare,” “Wildwood Days,” “The Cha-Cha-Cha,” and “Forget Him,” a song about a heartbroken girl that influenced the Beatles’ classic “She Loves You.”

He had recurrent parts on “The Red Skelton Show” and other television shows, and “Bye Bye Birdie” was revised in 1963 to include Rydell as Ann Margret’s boyfriend. He didn’t want to move to Hollywood, so “Birdie” became his last important film role – though his high school was named after him in the classic 1970s musical “Grease.”

Rydell spent most of his life in Philadelphia and never travelled far from his roots. In 1995, his community renamed the block of 11th Street where he grew up as Bobby Rydell Boulevard. In 2003, he told The Philadelphia Inquirer, “I never thought of myself as a celebrity.” “I was just a regular man who went out and did his job.”

How did Bobby Rydell enter the entertainment industry? 

He made his stage debut as a drummer, not a singer, at the age of seven. His father, Al Ridarelli, gave him his first drum kit as a gift after taking him to see Gene Krupa perform. He made his debut on an amateur television show when he was nine years old and stayed on as the show’s regular drummer for three years.

Rydell’s big break came in 1959, when he appeared on “American Bandstand,” which was initially broadcast from Philadelphia. “Kissing Time,” his first hit, followed swiftly, and the slender 17-year-old with a pompadour hairstyle shot to fame. Dick Clark, the host of “Bandstand,” saw Rydell and his other Philadelphia performers as excellent candidates for making rock n’ roll appealing to both young and elderly. On a tour organised by Clark, he also made live appearances across the country.

His second wife, Linda Hoffman, whom he married in 2009, and his children Robert Ridarelli and Jennifer Dulin, as well as five grandkids, survive him.

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