According to a statement released by his marketing and event planner Maria Novey, Bobby Rydell, a Philadelphian early rock ‘n roll singer, radio and TV star, and performer of the movie musical Bye Bye Birdie, died on Tuesday, April 5. He was 79 years old at the time.
A teen idol in the early 1960s, his most renowned songs included Wildwood Days, which peaked at number 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and stayed there for nine weeks, as well as Wild One and Volare, both of which sold over a million copies.
He had recurrent roles on The Red Skelton Show and other TV shows, and 1963’s Bye Bye Birdie was rewritten to include Rydell as Ann-Margret’s boyfriend. Bye Bye Birdie became his most important film role.
After the Broadway musical drama Grease, its film adaptation, and the film’s sequelGrease 2, the high school was named “Rydell High” as a homage to Rydell, according to his biography.
Rydell married Camille Quattrone Ridarelli in 1968 and remained together until she died in 2003. They had two children. Later he married Linda Hoffman in 2009, who remains alive.
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Rydell was a long-time resident of Penn Valley, PA, and lived in the same residence from 1963 to 2013.
Bobby Rydell canceled a tour of Australia in 2012 because his health had deteriorated to the point that he needed emergency surgery. He had a double organ transplant on July 9, 2012, to replace his liver and one kidney.
Rydell returned to the stage in Las Vegas for a three-night engagement in January 2013, six months after undergoing double transplant surgery, before a sold-out audience. He continued to play on the international stage, and in 2014, he returned to Australia for a tour.
Rydell died from complications of pneumonia at Abington Jefferson Hospital in Pennsylvania.
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