Frankie Avalon

Active - 1957 - 2018  |   Born - Sep 18, 1939 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States  |   Genres - Comedy, Musical, Drama

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Biography by Hal Erickson

One of the more talented members of the "Philadelphia school" of rock-n-rollers, Frankie Avalon was the reigning teen singing idol from 1958 through 1960. Devotees of American Bandstand will hold affectionate memories of such Avalon top-tenners as "Gingerbread" and "Venus." Avalon made a gradual transition from singer to actor beginning in 1957. He successfully essayed supporting roles in such films as Guns of the Timberland (1960) and The Alamo (1960) before starring in a string of inexpensive but moneymaking "Beach Party" flicks for American-International. As his film stardom eclipsed in the early 1970s, Avalon returned to singing, briefly starring in the 1976 nostalgia-oriented TV variety series Easy Does It. In 1987, Frankie Avalon was reteamed with his "Beach Party" leading lady Annette Funicello in the retro film musical Back to the Beach (1987), which he also co-produced. Over the next few years he could be seen in cameo performances portraying himself in a diverse string of projects including Troop Beverly Hills, the kid-friendly ABC sitcom Full House, and Martin Scorsese's violent Vegas gangster film Casino. In 1995 he reteamed with many of his old co-horts, including Annette and Dick Clark, for the feel-good made-for-TV showbiz film A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes: The Annette Funicello Story.

Movie Highlights

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  • Was a teen idol, with a string of hit singles from 1958 to '62, including "Venus" and "Why."
  • Made a series of beach movies aimed at the teenage demographic in the 1960s with Annette Funicello, including Beach Party, Beach Blanket Bingo, Bikini Beach and Muscle Beach Party.
  • Appeared as a child-prodigy trumpet player on The Jackie Gleason Show and The Perry Como Show.
  • Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.
  • His appearance in the 1978 movie Grease, singing "Beauty School Dropout," introduced him to a new generation of fans.
  • Other movie appearances include The Alamo with John Wayne in 1960, Back to the Beach with Annette Funicello in 1987 and Casino with Robert DeNiro in 1995.
  • Appeared on American Idol singing "Venus" in April of 2009.