Sep. 18th, 1939
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Frankie Avalon's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles2007 - Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project
1995 - Casino
1989 - Troop Beverly Hills
1987 - Back to the Beach
1978 - Grease
1968 - Skidoo
1967 - The Million Eyes of Sumuru
1965 - Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine
1965 - Beach Blanket Bingo
1964 - Bikini Beach
1964 - Muscle Beach Party
1963 - Beach Party
1962 - Panic in Year Zero!
1961 - Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
1960 - The Alamo
Guest TV Roles
One of a spate of teen idols to come out of Philadelphia in the 1950s and 1960s, Frankie Avalon--unlike many of the others--actually had a musical background, having been taught to play the trumpet at a very young age by his father. As a youth Avalon performed in local clubs and theaters. He won a local TV talent contest playing a trumpet solo. One day in 1952 he was performing at a private party held for singer Al Martino (I). A talent scout who was also at the party was impressed enough by Avalon to get him an appearance on Jackie Gleason (I)'s TV show, which led to more television appearances, and in 1954 he cut his own record on a small local label. At age 12 he was in a band called Rocco and the Saints, which included another soon-to-be famous teen singer, Bobby Rydell. Avalon eventually landed a recording contract with Philadelphia's Chancellor Records, and he recorded "Cupid" and "Teacher's Pet". These records got him his first movie role, a small part in Jamboree (1957) designed to promote "Teacher's Pet." His next record was "De De Dinah", a song written by his managers (and one for which he had so little respect that he pinched his nose while recording it, resulting in its extremely nasal sound). After an appearance on Dick Clark (I)'s teen dance show "Bandstand" (1952), sales of the record zoomed and it eventually sold more than a million copies. His next several songs were also big hits, and in 1959 he recorded the song he is probably best known for, the million-selling "Venus." However, as 1960 rolled around his career began to wane and his record sales dropped precipitously. He soon began taking small parts in movies, most notably in John Wayne (I)'s The Alamo (1960). He began to get somewhat bigger parts and had his first starring role in Drums of Africa (1963). His movie career really took off, however, when he was paired with former Mousketeer Annette Funicello in Beach Party (1963) and its string of sequels. These films, with their combination of surfing, low comedy, dancing and bikinis, struck a nerve with teenage audiences, were produced for peanuts and made a fortune. Avalon still recorded songs for Chancellor and other labels, but now he was far better known among younger audiences for his movies than for his records. In 1985 he began touring with fellow teen idols Rydell and Fabian (I) in an oldies show called "The Golden Boys of Bandstand," which was a rousing success. In 1987 he and Funicello were reunited in Back to the Beach (1987), an homage to, and parody of, their earlier "beach" movies. Avalon still makes personal appearances and tours, many with and for his old friend and mentor Dick Clark (I).
- He met 'Michael Wayne (I)' (qv)'s wife, 'Gretchen Wayne' (qv) (aka Gretchen Diebel), on the set of the 'John Wayne (I)' (qv) film _The Alamo (1960)_ (qv), in which he had a part. Four years later, he married beauty pageant winner Kathryn Diebel, Gretchen's sister. So, he is part of the extended John Wayne family.
- Mother, Mary Avallone was born July 3, 1916; father, Nicholas Avallone was born April 27, 1913. Sister, Theresa Avallone.
- Brother-in-law of 'Michael Wayne (I)' (qv), 'Patrick Wayne (I)' (qv), 'Toni Wayne' (qv), 'Marisa Wayne' (qv), 'Ethan Wayne' (qv), 'Aissa Wayne' (qv) and 'Melinda Wayne' (qv).
- He studied acting with 'Wynn Handman' (qv) in New York and Estelle Harmon in Los Angeles.
- Has a house in the San Bernadino Mountains in Southern California
- His sister Theresa is 2 years older than he is.
- He sang the song "These Are The Good Times" in both the movie _Beach Blanket Bingo (1965)_ (qv) and when he guest starred in _"The Patty Duke Show" (1963)_ (qv) in 1965.
- He and his wife have 8 children and they are in order of age 'Frankie Avalon Jr.' (qv), Tony, Dina, Laura, Joseph, Nicolas, Kathryn and Carla.
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