Life as a Great Smile

I’ve never written a Eulogy, and I am not feeling like doing it now because even though its meaning is one of blessing, dedication, and celebration, somehow it always meant something sad to me – and Tony Bennett’s life was not gloomy. On the contrary, it was a great smile

Tony Bennett, (1926-2023); Photos: © Shutterstock, Singer Tony Bennett performs on the main stage at Key Arena in Seattle during the September 2, 2012, Bumbershoot music festival

I had the honour and privilege to meet the gentleman, and even though I was no stranger to being in the presence of great men, with him I had an unusual trepidation. It helped a lot that I had been friends with his daughter Antonia for years, but I still trembled.

During my quarter of a century in New York, I had the opportunity to meet many great people, and I was always impressed by the “old guard” to which Mr. Bennett belonged.

People will always write and talk about his music for eternity, and I was most impressed by his immediacy and openness that made you feel like you were old friends and the tremors would soon disappear.

My father loved Sinatra very much, but he used to repeat what everyone knew – Sinatra said that Tony Bennett was the best singer in the business. Antonia often told me various anecdotes, and what was always most impressive to me was the amount of talent she inherited from her dad and how much he always supported her.

I have read many eulogies dedicated to Tony Bennett, but I was particularly moved by the one written by Lady Gaga, who would often sing and record with him. That is perhaps the best indicator of how great someone was – he marched with Martin Luther and wanted to sing with a diva 50 years younger.

Someone who forgot faces and names but never, not once, a single text, a single melody. All the way to the end. He didn’t leave his heart in San Francisco but in all of us. May he rest in heaven’s glory!


by Ivan Fece Firči

Tony Bennett’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

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