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|Birth name||Constantin Rossi|
|Born||29 April 1907|
|Origin||Ajaccio, Corsica, France|
|Died||26 September 1983 (age 76)
|Genres||Cabaret, French pop|
Rossi, born in Ajaccio, Corsica, was gifted with a voice well suited for opera. He became a tenor in the French cabaret-style. Later, he appeared in various movies. During his career he recorded hundreds of songs and he appeared in more than 25 films, the most notable of which was the 1953 production, Si Versailles m'était conté directed by Sacha Guitry. His romantic ballads had especially women swooning and his art-songs by Jules Massenet (1842–1912), Reynaldo Hahn (1875–1947), and other composers, sold out theaters wherever he performed.
He remains the only French singer to have sold more than 700 million records. His disc "Petit Papa Noël" alone sold 80 million copies worldwide.
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As a young man, Rossi played guitar and sang in many places of his hometown of Ajaccio, but later he went to perform in Marseilles and at resort clubs along the French Riviera. In the early 1930s he went to Paris and within a few years achieved enormous success, joining a Columbia Records roster that included the biggest stars of the day such as Lucienne Boyer, Damia, Pills et Tabet, Mireille, and Jean Sablon.
Rossi's success was greatly aided by songwriter Vincent Scotto (1876–1952), who wrote his first hits and collaborated with him for many years, composing and arranging many of Rossi's songs. Prior to World War II, Rossi was a major box office attraction in the French speaking world, and expanded his audience 1938 to North America and Canada during a first visit there. Rossi began his film career with a role in Les Nuits Moscovites (1934); his first real success came with Marinella (1936).
During the Occupation of France by Nazi Germany Rossi's film career reached its peak, notably with Mon amour est près de toi (1943) and L'Île d'amour (1944). After the Liberation, the French authorities reproached him for associating with the French Gestapo (Etienne Leandri, a French Gestapo agent, was a close friend of his), but later accused Rossi of actively supporting collaborationist causes such as the LVF (Légion des Volontaires Français), which organization recruited French volunteers for the German Wehrmacht.
Following a trial in 1945, his sentence was relatively light. Unlike his fellow entertainers Arletty, Mireille Balin, Josseline Gaël and Robert Le Vigan, Rossi received only a symbolic work suspension. He subsequently appeared only sporadically in films, concentrating on his career as a singer.
In 1946 his song "Petit Papa Noël" sold more than thirty million copies worldwide. A Christmas classic for the family, the song still sells by the thousands each December. The recipient of many musical awards, including the prestigious Grand Prix du Disque, Rossi is the most popular personality to ever come from Corsica other than Napoleon Bonaparte.
In 1947 Tino Rossi married Lilia Vetti, a young dancer he had met while making a film. They had one son and remained married to each other until his death. In 1982 President François Mitterrand named Rossi a Commander of the Legion of Honor for his contributions to French culture. That same year Rossi gave his last public performance at the Casino de Paris, a show that popular demand turned into a three-month stint.
Rossi died of pancreatic cancer in 1983 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. His body was transported to Ajaccio for burial in the family grave. His wife died in 2003 aged 79. Ajaccio named a street and the sailing harbor in his honor and in Nogent-sur-Marne, there is a square named Tino Rossi Square. Tino Rossi's unique status on Corsica is reflected in several (somewhat hidden) references to him in the comic book "Asterix in Corsica" by Uderzo and Goscinny.
- Marinella (1936)
- The Island of Love (1944)
- Song of the Clouds (1946)
- La Belle Meunière (1948)
- Sending of Flowers (1950)
- Paris Still Sings (1951)
- Tourments (1954).
- "Raquel Bitton - de Piaf a Tino Rossi, frenchmorning.com; accessed 26 August 2015. (French)
- Rossi profile, fundacionjoseguillermocarrillo.com; accessed 26 August 2015. (Spanish)
- Tino Rossi at the Internet Movie Database
- Profile for Tino Rossi profile, findagrave.com; accessed 26 August 2015.
- Tino Rossi biography, dutempsdescerisesauxfeuillesmortes.net; accessed 26 August 2015. (French)
- Amazon.com profile; accessed 26 August 2015.