Bobby Rydell, 60s teen idol and Bye Bye Birdie star, dies


Bobby Rydell, a pompadoured heartthrob of early rock ’n roll who was a star of radio, tv and the film musical “Bye Bye Birdie,” died Tuesday. Rydell died of issues from pneumonia at a hospital in a suburb of his hometown of Philadelphia, based on a press release posted by his advertising and occasion coordinator Maria Novey.

Rydell, who credited a 2012 kidney and liver transplant with extending his life, was 79. Together with James Darren, Fabian and Frankie Avalon, Rydell was amongst a wave of healthful teen idols who emerged after Elvis Presley and earlier than the rise of the Beatles.

Between 1959 and 1964, he had practically three dozen High 40 singles together with “Wild One,” “Volare,” “Wildwood Days,” “The Cha-Cha-Cha” and “Overlook Him,” a track of comfort for a bereft lady that helped encourage the Beatles’ traditional “She Loves You.”

He had recurring roles on “The Crimson Skelton Present” and different tv applications, and 1963′s “Bye Bye Birdie” was rewritten to offer Rydell a significant half because the boyfriend of Ann-Margret. He didn’t wish to transfer to Hollywood, nonetheless, and “Birdie” grew to become his solely important film function — although the highschool within the hit ’70s musical “Grease” was named for him.

Rydell by no means strayed removed from his Philadelphia roots, residing within the space for many of his life. The block of eleventh Road the place he grew up was christened Bobby Rydell Boulevard by his hometown in 1995.

“I by no means considered myself as a celeb,” he instructed The Philadelphia Inquirer in 2003. “I used to be only a man who went on the market and labored.”

He was born Robert Ridarelli in a South Philadelphia neighborhood that may additionally produce teen idols Darren, Fabian and Avalon. They knew one another as youngsters — Rydell performed drums with Avalon on trumpet in a bunch referred to as Rocco and the Saints.

Earlier than he graced the covers of youth magazines and film screens, Rydell made his bones as a teen in Philadelphia golf equipment.

He made his efficiency debut as a 7-year-old drummer, not a singer. His first drum equipment was a present from his father, Al Ridarelli, who impressed his son’s selection of instrument by taking him to see Gene Krupa carry out.

At age 9, he debuted on an newbie tv present and have become its common drummer for 3 years.

Rydell received his huge break in 1959 on “American Bandstand,” which initially was broadcast from Philadelphia. His first hit, “Kissing Time,” rapidly adopted, and the thin 17-year-old with a pompadour haircut rocketed to stardom. Rydell and his fellow Philadelphia performers had been ultimate for “Bandstand” host Dick Clark, who sought to make rock n’ roll palatable to younger and previous. He additionally made dwell appearances nationwide on a tour organized by Clark.

Altering musical tastes ushered in by the Beatles and the remainder of the British Invasion defused the hit-making careers of Rydell and his compatriots, and he continued performing and recording music with restricted success within the late Nineteen Sixties and Nineteen Seventies. However in 1985, he joined his previous associates Avalon and Fabian for what they thought can be just a few appearances. They dubbed themselves “The Golden Boys of Bandstand,” and the exhibits had been so profitable that the trio ended up touring for 3 years and performing 300 exhibits nationwide.

“We weren’t out to show something. We simply stated to ourselves, ‘Listed here are three Italian youngsters from South Philadelphia, born and raised inside two blocks of one another. Let’s go on the market and have enjoyable,’” Rydell instructed The Atlantic Metropolis Weekly in 2006. “That hasn’t modified. I feel individuals see that angle coming from the stage. It’s a enjoyable present to look at — that’s what’s made it so profitable. We’ve a good time doing it.”

Rydell’s childhood sweetheart and first spouse, Camille, died in 2003.

He’s survived by his second spouse, Linda Hoffman, whom he married in 2009, together with son Robert Ridarelli, daughter Jennifer Dulin, and 5 grandchildren.


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