CelebrityMusicians

November 10, 2021

95-Year-Old Tony Bennett 'Met' Wife Susan, 55, When Her Mother Was Still Pregnant with Her

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Jazz singer Tony Bennett came across his current wife, Susan Crow Benedetto when her mother was still carrying her. The pair dated for decades before eventually getting married.

Tony Bennett, 95, might be close to reaching 100, but he still records, sings, and makes tours. It's been more than 75 years since he first started his professional career, and he appeared to be unstoppable.

The star's current and third wife is Susan Crow Benedetto, 55, who is 40 years younger than him. The pair actually dated for 20 years before they walked down the aisle in holy matrimony.

Susan Crow Benedetto and Honoree Tony Bennett at the Gershwin Prize Honoree's Tribute Concert at DAR Constitution Hall on November 15, 2017, in Washington, DC. | Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images

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TONY'S BACKGROUND

Tony, named Anthony Dominick Benedetto at birth, believed he began singing when he was still in the cradle. Besides music, the star also served his country by fighting in World War II.

He formed part of the occupying force in Germany, where he was assigned to the 314th Army Special Services Band. When he finally returned home, he wavered between his love for music and his passion for painting.

Tony Bennett and his wife Susan Benedetto tour Esteban E. Torres High School in support of the Los Angeles expansion of Exploring the Arts on April 26, 2013, in Los Angeles, California | Photo: David Livingston/Getty Images

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Ultimately, the latter won, and he studied bel canto on the G.I. bill. He then launched his singing career, which proved to be successful and spanned over seven long decades.

TONY'S MARRIAGES

With his good looks and even better voice, Tony never struggled when it came to the love department. While early in his career, he married his first wife, Patricia Beech, with whom he stayed for 19 years.

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Together they had two sons – Dae and Danny Bennett, both in their 60s. The singer and Beech ended up divorcing in 1971, and it didn't take long for the crooner to move on to his next wife.

He tied the knot with actress Sandra Grant, and together they welcomed daughters Joanna and Antonia Bennett. Sadly, this marriage wasn't meant to last either, as they separated in the mid-80s.

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The pair failed to reconcile after their separation, and their divorce went through in 2007. Despite the end of two of his marriages, Tony still believed in love and found it again with his last wife.

MEETING SUSAN

The singer met Susan when she was only 19. At the time, she was attending one of his concerts in San Francisco and was a big fan of the famous and much older musician.

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Susan sent Tony a note backstage asking to meet him. When the jazz musician received the note, he was intrigued that someone so young was a fan of his music and agreed to say hello backstage.  

However, when they met, Tony asked her to be his date that evening. They later found out that the singer had actually met the teenage fan's parents, who took a photo with Tony when Susan's mother was expecting her.

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DATING FOR 20 YEARS

It seemed fate that they should meet, and they proceeded to date for 20 years. Finally, in 2007, Tony's divorce from Grant went through, and he and Susan got to tie the knot together.

A SHARED PASSION

One thing that brought the couple together was their shared love for music. Being a former social studies teacher also meant the duo shared another passion – the love for education.

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Together, Tony and Susan co-founded Queens' The Frank Sinatra School of the Arts. They also created Exploring The Arts, a non-profit organization that offers public school students the chance to follow the arts. 

Their efforts earned them the George Washington University's Medal for work in fostering arts education. Tony revealed that they'd opened a whopping 17 schools all over the nation!

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TONY'S ALZHEIMER'S BATTLE

In October 2021, Susan and Tony were interviewed by Anderson Cooper for "60 Minutes." The interview was done before the star's 95th birthday, and there they discussed the singer's battle with Alzheimer's disease.

Susan said things were different daily as sometimes her husband was more alert in the morning and sometimes late at night. She revealed that his short-term memory could be less consistent.

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The musician's wife also shared how Tony wasn't aware of his diagnosis. Luckily, the star still recognizes his wife and his four children, and a doctor encouraged him to continue singing if that was what he wanted to do.

BENEFITS OF MUSIC FOR ALZHEIMER'S

Cooper got to witness firsthand how performing helped to stimulate Tony's brain. The CNN journalist saw how the singer transitioned when he was rehearsing for his final big performance with Lady Gaga.

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During their interview, his wife did most of the talking for both of them as the musician struggled to hold a conversation. He couldn't even remember where he was, but with music, he was in his element.

It was announced at the beginning of the year that Tony has been battling Alzheimer's disease for over four years. Despite this, the 18-time Grammy Award winner didn't need cue cards to remember the words to his classics.

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It's been revealed that there's a link between memory and music. This phenomenon is being studied by doctors and scientists at UC Irvine's UCI Mind — an institute for neurological disorders and memory impairments.

It’s good to also acknowledge and credit Susan [Crow Benedetto] for her role as the legendary musician’s [Tony Bennett] greatest support system…

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The institute is one that is leading in Alzheimer's disease research. Dr. David Sultzer, director of clinical research at UCI Mind, noted how the brain handled different information in different ways.

Sultzer explained how music was different from language, recognizing words, and other things around us. It seemed music was less affected by the debilitating disease, as seen in Tony's case.

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RECOGNITION FOR HIS WORK

In October 2021, Tony was recognized as the oldest person to release an album with new material for "Love for Sale." The Guinness World Records acknowledged his work on his second album with Lady Gaga.

The album was released on September 30, 2021. It's good to also acknowledge and credit Susan for her role as the legendary musician's greatest support system as he tackles the severe illness. Fifty-five years later, she remains by his side.

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