Jerry Vale, Sinatra pal and contemporary, remembered as romantic crooner

Jerry Vale died at his California home Sunday. A friend of fellow Italian-American singer Frank Sinatra, Jerry Vale made a name for himself on the supper club circuit.

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    This 1978 file photo shows singer Jerry Vale. The popular 1950s crooner has died at his California home. A family attorney says Vale died Sunday, May 18, 2014, at his home in Palm Desert.
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Jerry Vale, the beloved crooner known for his high-tenor voice and romantic songs in the 1950s and early 1960s, has died.

Vale, who had been in declining health, died Sunday at his Palm Desert home surrounded by family and friends, family attorney Harold J. Levy said in a statement.

Born Genaro Louis Vitaliano, Vale started performing in New York supper clubs as a teenager and went on to record more than 50 albums. His rendition of "Volare," ''Innamorata" and "Al Di La" became classic Italian-American songs. His biggest hit was "You Don't Know Me."

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Vale's recording of "The Star-Spangled Banner" in the 1960s was played at sporting events for years.

While his albums failed to make the charts in the early 1970s, Vale remained a popular club act.

He also appeared as himself in the movies "Goodfellas," ''Casino" and the TV series "The Sopranos."

Vale was a friend of fellow Italian-American crooner Frank Sinatra, and he was an honorary pallbearer at Sinatra's funeral on May 20, 1998.

Vale is survived by Rita, his wife of 55 years; a son, Robert; and a daughter, Pamela.

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