Pierino Ronald "Perry" Como (May 18, 1912 – May 12, 2001) was an American singer and television personality. During a career spanning more than half a century, he recorded exclusively for the RCA Victor label after signing with them in 1943. "Mr. C.", as he was nicknamed, sold millions of records for Radio Corporation of America (RCA) and pioneered a weekly musical variety television show, which set the standards for the genre and proved to be one of the most successful in television history. Como was seen weekly on television from 1949 to 1963, then continued hosting the Kraft Music Hall variety program on a monthly basis until 1967. His television shows and seasonal specials were broadcast throughout the world. Also a popular recording artist, Perry Como produced numerous hit records with record sales so high the label literally stopped counting at Como's behest. His combined success on television and popular recordings was not matched by any other artist of the time. Como's appeal spanned generations and he was widely respected for both his professional standards and the conduct in his personal life. In the official RCA Records Billboard magazine memorial, his life was summed up in these few words: "50 years of music and a life well lived. An example to all." Composer Ervin Drake said of him, "... [o]ccasionally someone like Perry comes along and won't 'go with the flow' and still prevails in spite of all the bankrupt others who surround him and importune him to yield to their values. Only occasionally."
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