Singer Al Martino , who played the Frank Sinatra -type role of Johnny Fontane in " The Godfather " and recorded hits including "Spanish Eyes" and the Italian ballad "Volare" in a 50-year musical career, died Tuesday. He was 82.
Martino died at his childhood home in the Philadelphia suburb of Springfield, in Delaware County, according to publicist Sandy Friedman, of the Rogers & Cowan public relations firm. Friedman didn't cite a cause of death.
Starting in 1952, Martino was known for hit songs including " Here in My Heart " and " Can't Help Falling in Love ."
Besides acting in the Marlon Brando classic "The Godfather," Martino sang the 1972 film's title score, "The Love Theme From The Godfather." His Fontane character is a singer and occasional actor and is the godson of Brando's Mafia boss character, Don Vito Corleone, The Associated Press reports.
Martino - who was born Alfred Cini - also performed the track featured in the first film's wedding scene. His character was said to be based on Frank Sinatra. In 1952, the singer performed at the London Palladium and was planning a return for the 50th anniversary of his landmark hit, according to publicist Sandy Friedman.
The nine-week run of his UK hit has since been beaten by only four singles, including Everything I Do (I Do It For You) by Bryan Adams, which topped the chart for 16 weeks in 1991.
Here In My Heart remained his only UK number one, and his last brush with the chart came in 1973 with a re-release of Spanish Eyes. The crooner's chart career in the US was stalled by the growth of rock'n'roll in the late 1950s, but he returned during the 1960s with a run of Billboard hits. In the 1980s he left his record company and continued to perform on the club circuit. His most recent album, Style, was made nine years ago, BBC News informs.
Mr. Martino said he had wanted to write his autobiography but refused to reveal embarrassing secrets about other famous people.
"Because I wouldn't tell all, 14 publishers shot it down," he said. Blavat said Mr. Martino "was the last of a show-business era." Mr. Martino is survived by his wife, Judi; a son, Al Cini; and daughters Alison Martino and Alana Cini, informs Philadelphia Inquirer.