MUMBAI: Al Martino, a crooner who played Johnny Fontane in the 1970s Godfather movies, died Tuesday at his childhood home in Springfield, Pa. He was 82.
He was born Alfred Cini on 7 October, 1927, in South Philadelphia. Martino began his singing career in the late 1940s. His single Here in My Heart hit No. 1 in the U.K. in 1952 and stayed on top for a record nine weeks.
Martino had a run of chart singles through 1953, but his career stalled with the advent of rock ‘n’ roll. He became popular again in 1963 with the Top 5 hit I Love You Because; it was the first of six consecutive top 40 singles in less than two years, including I Love You More and More Every Day, peaked at No. 9 in 1964.
The string of hits propelled a pair of Martino’s albums — I Love You Because and Painted, Tainted Rose — into the top 10 in 1963. He also scored a top-10 disc with A Merry Christmas. His last top 10 album was Spanish Eyes in 1966, his only RIAA-certified gold record.
Martino continued to hit the pop charts through the mid-’70s, reaching the top 20 with To the Door of the Sun (Alle Porte del Sole) in 1974.He went on to play Johnny Fontane — godson of Don Vito Corleone — in the best picture Oscar winners The Godfather (1972) and"The Godfather Part II (1974). He sang I Have but One Heart (O Marenariello) during the first film’s wedding scene and on its score album The Love Theme From The Godfather.
Martino is survived by his wife, Judi; a daughter, Allison; a son, Alfred; a brother, Frank; two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.