Perry Como Net Worth (Updated 2023)

What Was Perry Como’s Net Worth?

Perry Como, the American singer and TV personality, had a net worth of $40 million at the time of his death. Known as “Mr. C,” he sold over 100 million records worldwide and pioneered musical variety television shows. Como received five Emmys, a Christopher Award, and a Peabody Award during his career.

He also earned a Kennedy Center Honor and induction into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame. Posthumously, he received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame. Perry Como has three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to radio, television, and music.

Here’s the breakdown of his net worth:

Name:

Perry Como

Net Worth:

$40 Million

Date of Birth:

May 18, 1912 – May 12, 2001

Salary:

$2 Million Per Year

Source of Wealth:

Singer, Actor, TV Personality

Learn more: richest singers in the world

Early Years

Perry Como was born in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, the seventh of 13 children. His parents, Pietro and Lucia, had immigrated from Italy in 1910. Perry grew up speaking Italian at home and learned English at school.

The Como family had a second-hand organ that Perry loved to play from a young age. Despite their limited finances, Perry’s father, Pietro, a mill worker and amateur singer, made sure all his children received music lessons, even if it meant sacrifices. Perry’s musical talents developed, and he played the trombone, sang at weddings, and served as a church organist.

At age 10, Perry began working in a barber shop for 50 cents a week before and after school. By 13, he had his own chair in the shop. One day, he lost his week’s wages in a dice game and felt ashamed. He confessed to his father, who comforted him.

When Perry was 14, his father’s health declined, and Perry and his brothers became the family’s primary support. Despite his musical abilities, Perry aspired to be the best barber in Canonsburg. His skills led to him managing a barber shop in a Greek coffee house, where his popularity as a “wedding barber” soared. Perry’s reputation spread to Pittsburgh and throughout Ohio.

Perry Como Net Worth

Singing Career

Early Break with Freddy Carlone and Ted Weems

In 1932, Perry Como left Canonsburg for Meadville, Pennsylvania, where his uncle owned a barber shop. At a dance hall in Cleveland, Como, urged by friends, sang with Freddy Carlone’s orchestra and got hired on the spot. Despite financial concerns, his father encouraged him to pursue a singing career, so Perry joined the band, marrying Roselle in 1933 and hitting the road for 18 months.

Three years later, Como switched to Ted Weems’s Orchestra, which marked his first recording experiences. He developed his style and became nationally recognized through Weems’s radio shows.

Transition to RCA Victor and Radio

In 1943, Como’s CBS radio debut launched his career. He performed at the Copacabana, signed with RCA Victor, and became a crooning sensation, even broadcasting from an airplane. His move to NBC for the “Chesterfield Supper Club” in 1944 solidified his status.

Over the years, Como continued to captivate audiences, performing for world leaders, delighting fans, and earning acclaim for his effortlessness and meticulous preparation as a singer, as noted by music critic Gene Lees.

Film Career

Perry Como’s handsome looks landed him a seven-year contract with 20th Century-Fox in 1943. He appeared in four Fox films, including “Something for the Boys” (1944) and “Doll Face” (1945), but Como never felt at ease in these roles, believing they didn’t match his personality.

Interestingly, a Hollywood press agent tried to change Como’s backstory from a barber to a coal miner for better publicity, a claim Como disproved by giving a shave and haircut to a skeptical columnist.

One anecdote from his film career involved Como waiting in his dressing room for weeks without being called to the set. It took five weeks for the director to recognize him when he finally appeared.

Musical films were on the decline, and Como became a studio contract player, working as needed. His last film, “Words and Music” (1948) with MGM, faced criticism for character name changes.

Como’s career on television proved more successful, and he believed TV allowed him to be himself, unlike films where he felt miscast. As a result, he turned down film roles and focused on television appearances.

Television Career

Early Years

In 1948, Perry Como made his television debut when NBC broadcasted the Chesterfield Supper Club radio show. The initial episode featured Como’s son Ronnie singing “Silent Night” with a boys’ choir. This experiment expanded, and Como, though initially nervous, maintained his authenticity on screen. In 1949, the show moved to a weekly Sunday night slot, competing with Ed Sullivan’s program.

In 1950, Como switched to CBS, hosting “The Perry Como Chesterfield Show,” a 15-minute musical variety series on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. By 1952, television surpassed radio as the primary entertainment medium. The show was simulcast on radio via the Mutual Broadcasting System, marking the first simultaneous broadcast between two networks.

In 1955, Como signed a 12-year contract with NBC, leaving CBS in a memorable final show. This marked the end of an 11-year association with Chesterfield.

Sing to Me, Mr. C.

Returning to NBC, Como hosted “The Perry Como Show,” an hour-long variety program that became a huge success, even reaching ninth in the Nielsen ratings during the 1956–1957 season, the only NBC show in the top ten that year. The show featured Como’s opening theme song, “Dream Along With Me,” and introduced his iconic cardigan sweaters.

Frank Gallop, Como’s announcer, became a comedic partner on the show. Como’s easygoing style and ability to make guests feel at ease made rehearsals as enjoyable as the live shows.

The Kraft Music Hall

In 1959, Como signed a groundbreaking $25 million deal with Kraft Foods, hosting “Perry Como’s Kraft Music Hall” on Wednesday nights. He became the highest-paid performer in TV history, earning a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Specials

Starting in 1967, Como focused on seasonal and holiday specials, especially Christmas shows. These specials were filmed in various countries, showcasing his enduring appeal and dedication to his craft.

Throughout his career, Perry Como left an indelible mark on television, combining musical talent, warmth, and a genuine connection with his viewers.

Personal Life

Marriage and Family

In 1929, Perry Como met Roselle Belline at a picnic, and they married in 1933, raising three children together. He maintained a clear boundary between his professional and personal life.

Public Persona

Como’s success came from his commitment to good taste and authenticity. He avoided anything he considered in bad taste, even issuing on-air apologies when necessary. His on-screen and off-screen personas were identical.

Hobbies

Como was an avid golfer, and his love for golf was celebrated with an annual Perry Como Golf Tournament. He also enjoyed fishing, often using his boat as a rehearsal space for his music. In 1980, he built a vacation home in Saluda, North Carolina, as a private getaway.

Death

Perry Como passed away on May 12, 2001, at his home in Jupiter Inlet Colony, Florida, just six days before his 89th birthday. He had been battling symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Prior to his death, there was a legal dispute between his older son, Ronnie, and his daughter, Terri, regarding the interpretation of Como’s 1999 living will.

Perry Como’s funeral Mass was held at St. Edward’s Catholic Church in Palm Beach, Florida. He and his wife, Roselle, were laid to rest at Riverside Memorial Park in Tequesta, Palm Beach County, Florida.

Honors and Tributes

Awards

Perry Como’s illustrious career was adorned with accolades. He won the 1959 Grammy Award for Best Vocal Performance, Male, and five Emmy Awards from 1955 to 1959. Additionally, he received a Christopher Award and shared a Peabody Award in 1956.

In 1990, he was inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame and was honored with a Kennedy Center Honor in 1987. Posthumously, he received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002 and was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2006.

Notably, he has three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to radio, television, and music.

Tributes

Perry Como’s legacy was celebrated through heartfelt tributes. An official RCA Records Billboard memorial succinctly captured his life: “50 years of music and a life well lived. An example to all.”

Composer Ervin Drake praised Como’s steadfastness in his values amidst external pressures. Perry Como’s hometown, Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, also honored him. A street was named “Perry Como Avenue” in 1946, and Perry Como Day was celebrated in 1977.

In 1997, a statue of Perry Como was unveiled, accompanied by the donation of his personal items. The statue bears the inscription “To This Place God Has Brought Me” and features music added in 2002. The tribute extended to Palena, Italy, the birthplace of his parents, in 2002, where a street was renamed in their honor.

Perry Como’s philanthropy and support for Canonsburg were evident, and his legacy lives on through various local landmarks and tributes.

Real Estate

In the later stages of his life, Perry Como called a stunning 6,000 square foot waterfront mansion in Jupiter Inlet Colony, Florida, his home. This luxurious estate was sold in September 2002 for a respectable $3.25 million.

Fast forward to today, and the property’s estimated value has soared to an impressive $17 million. It’s a testament to the timeless allure of the place that once belonged to the legendary singer.

If you have doubts about our figures, you can read how we calculate a celebrity's net worth here. To stay updated with the latest celebrity news and changes in their net worth, subscribe to our newsletter.

Leave a Comment

Got a Tip About a Celebrity's Net Worth?