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Tony Bennett | Source: Getty Images
Tony Bennett | Source: Getty Images

Tony Bennett's Daughters Reveal Reasons for Legal Action in Inheritance Fight

Milla Sigaba
Jul 02, 2024
10:45 A.M.
  • In 2023, the world lost musical icon Tony Bennett.
  • A year after his death, his children found themselves in a bitter legal battle over his estate.
  • The late singer's daughters have reportedly since revealed the shocking details about why they sued their sibling.
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Tony Bennett at the opening celebration of the Statue of Liberty Museum on May 15, 2019, in New York. | Source: Getty Images

Tony Bennett at the opening celebration of the Statue of Liberty Museum on May 15, 2019, in New York. | Source: Getty Images

In July 2023, the world said farewell to jazz and pop singer Tony Bennett after he died at 96. However, a year later, a cloud was cast over the musical icon's legacy as his children were said to be "at each other's throats over his money."

Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga perform performing at The 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards on February 8, 2015, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga perform performing at The 57th Annual GRAMMY Awards on February 8, 2015, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

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Speaking to the DailyMail, Tony Bennett's daughters reportedly revealed why they filed a lawsuit against their brother. The shocking accusations the sisters have made against their sibling have since led to a family fallout.

Tony Bennett performing live on October 4, 1991, in Cheyenne, Wyoming. | Source: Getty Images

Tony Bennett performing live on October 4, 1991, in Cheyenne, Wyoming. | Source: Getty Images

The Life and Legacy of Tony Bennett

Tony was born Anthony Dominick Benedetto on August 3, 1926, in Astoria, Queens, New York. His early life was tough as the son of Italian immigrants. By 10, the icon had lost his father and faced the challenges of the Great Depression.

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His mother worked tirelessly as a seamstress to support Bennett and his two siblings. This instilled in him a strong work ethic and resilience. Bennett attended the High School of Industrial Arts in New York City. However, he later had to drop out due to financial constraints.

Tony subsequently worked as a singing waiter to help support his family. However, his life took a significant turn when he served in the Army infantry during World War II. After the war, Tony used the G.I. Bill to study singing at the American Theatre Wing.

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There, he met his vocal coach, Mimi Spear, who gave him some of the best advice he'd ever heard: Not to imitate other singers. Instead, he should emulate instrumentalists. Performing under the name Joe Bari, Tony's big break came in 1949.

Tony Bennett, circa 1950. | Source: Getty Images

Tony Bennett, circa 1950. | Source: Getty Images

Pearl Bailey had discovered him and invited the young singer to open for her show in Greenwich Village. This opportunity led Tony to meet Bob Hope. Bob suggested the stage name Tony Bennett and included him in his road show. This marked the start of Tony's illustrious career.

Tony Bennett, circa 1950. | Source: Getty Images

Tony Bennett, circa 1950. | Source: Getty Images

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In 1950, Tony signed with Columbia Records. He went on to work with record producer Mitch Miller. His early hits, such as "Because of You," "Cold, Cold Heart," and "Rags to Riches," quickly made him a household name.

By the late 1950s, Tony had shifted his focus to jazz and collaborated with top artists like Count Basie. They released their album, "Basie Swings, Bennett Sings," in 1958.

The body of work featured memorable tracks like "Jeepers Creepers" and "Chicago." Tony's career peaked in 1962 with the release of "I Left My Heart in San Francisco." The song catapulted Tony to new heights.

Tony Bennett performing live, circa 1962. | Source: Getty Images

Tony Bennett performing live, circa 1962. | Source: Getty Images

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It earned him his first Grammy Award for Best Record of the Year and Best Male Solo Vocal Performance. In 1994, "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Over eight decades, Tony amassed 19 Grammy Awards.

This included eight for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album and the 1995 Album of the Year for his MTV Unplugged live recording. In 2001, Tony received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy. In 2005, the musician was honored by the Kennedy Center.

Tony Bennett, honoree during the 2005 Kennedy Center Honors, at the Kennedy Center Opera House on December 4, 2005, in Washington D.C. | Source: Getty Images

Tony Bennett, honoree during the 2005 Kennedy Center Honors, at the Kennedy Center Opera House on December 4, 2005, in Washington D.C. | Source: Getty Images

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Sadly, in 2021, Tony revealed he had been living with Alzheimer's Disease for four years. The announcement highlighted the condition's impact on the singer's memory and daily life. His wife, Susan Crow, shared that Tony was "not always sure where he is or what is happening around him."

Susan Crow and Tony Bennett at the Gershwin Prize Honoree's Tribute Concert on November 15, 2017, in Washington, DC. | Source: Getty Images

Susan Crow and Tony Bennett at the Gershwin Prize Honoree's Tribute Concert on November 15, 2017, in Washington, DC. | Source: Getty Images

Despite the challenges, Tony was spared many severe symptoms of the disease. This included wandering, and episodes of terror, rage, or depression. Remarkably, singing helped Tony manage his symptoms.

He continued to rehearse twice a week with his longtime pianist, Lee Musiker. Tony's neurologist noted that his touring schedule before the COVID-19 pandemic had "kept him on his toes and also stimulated his brain in a significant way."

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Tony Bennett performing during the 17th Annual A Great Night In Harlem on April 4, 2019, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

Tony Bennett performing during the 17th Annual A Great Night In Harlem on April 4, 2019, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

Unfortunately, Tony's remarkable life ended in July 2023 when he passed away at 96. According to his representatives, Tony was "singing at his piano" just days before his death. His publicist confirmed his passing and stated that he died in his hometown of New York.

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The news of his death prompted tributes from around the world. Sir Elton John, Carole King, and Hillary Clinton were among those who honored the legendary singer on social media. The White House also released a statement. It acknowledged Tony as an American classic.

The statement further highlighted the late singer's enduring contributions to American culture. Tony was survived by his wife and his children at the time of writing. This included his two sons and two daughters.

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The Bennett Legacy: Tony Bennett's Children

Tony's eldest son, D'Andrea "Danny" Bennett, was born during his marriage to his first wife, Patricia Beech. D'Andrea played a significant role in his father's career. He was his manager from 1979 until Tony's retirement in 2021. "I don't just handle a career, I manage a legacy," D'Andrea proclaimed in 2011.

A family portrait of Patricia Beech, Tony Bennett and D'Andrea Bennett. | Source: Getty Images

A family portrait of Patricia Beech, Tony Bennett and D'Andrea Bennett. | Source: Getty Images

Reflecting on his time managing his father, D'Andrea said, "I'm simply proud and [humbled] to have been a small part of his legacy." D'Andrea's management was crucial in reviving Tony's career and maintaining his status as a beloved jazz icon.

Tony and D'Andrea Bennett in 2002. | Source: Getty Images

Tony and D'Andrea Bennett in 2002. | Source: Getty Images

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After D'Andrea, Tony and Patricia welcomed another son, Daegal "Dae" Bennett. Daegel started playing the drums at age nine and quickly became a working musician. His passion for music extended beyond performance. He also spent years building small studios.

D'Andrea, Tony, and Daegel Bennett, circa 1980. | Source: Getty Images

D'Andrea, Tony, and Daegel Bennett, circa 1980. | Source: Getty Images

By 2011, Daegel had established himself as a freelance audio producer, engineer, and mixer. Before his divorce from Patricia in 1971, Tony was involved with aspiring actress Sandra Grant. Together, they had a daughter, Joanna Bennett.

Tony and Joanna Bennett, circa 1977. | Source: Getty Images

Tony and Joanna Bennett, circa 1977. | Source: Getty Images

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In 1971, Tony married Sandra. They welcomed another daughter, Antonia Bennett, three years later. Joanna followed her mother's footsteps into acting. However, Antonia inherited her father's musical talent and began performing alongside him from a young age.

Joanna, Tony, and Antonia Bennett at a post Grammy party on February 23, 2003, in New York. | Source: Getty Images

Joanna, Tony, and Antonia Bennett at a post Grammy party on February 23, 2003, in New York. | Source: Getty Images

She also shared the stage with other legends. This included Rosemary Clooney, Count Basie, Regis Philbin, and Don Rickles. Tony often praised her abilities, saying, "Antonia's got the gift." Antonia's career blossomed as she developed her own style.

She opened for her father for over 25 years at prestigious venues worldwide. Her vocal prowess can be heard on the duet "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm," featured on Tony's album "A Swingin' Christmas."

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The Family Feud: Tony Bennett's Children's Battle Over His Estate

In June 2024, a legal storm erupted within the Bennett family. Antonia and Joanna reportedly filed a lawsuit against their half-brother, D'Andrea. This lawsuit concerned their late father's trust and assets.

The sisters sought an undisclosed amount in damages. They also alleged that there were discrepancies in the management of their father's estate. Antonia and Joanna also named Daegel and Tony's widow as extra respondents in the lawsuit.

Joanna, Tony, and Antonia Bennett at "Tony Bennett Celebrates 90: The Best Is Yet To Come" on September 15, 2016, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

Joanna, Tony, and Antonia Bennett at "Tony Bennett Celebrates 90: The Best Is Yet To Come" on September 15, 2016, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

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The filing reportedly revealed the sisters' pursuit of "equitable relief." They claimed that D'Andrea did not properly account for the money from Tony's sale to Iconoclast. In addition to being Tony's manager, D'Andrea also served as the trustee of the Family Trust.

Tony and D'Andrea Bennett at the Friars Foundation Ball in 1995. | Source: Getty Images

Tony and D'Andrea Bennett at the Friars Foundation Ball in 1995. | Source: Getty Images

The sisters' main allegation was that D'Andrea "obtained personal benefits for himself and his company." They believed he did this through various transactions.

These transactions included selling and consigning their late father's memorabilia and property. Antonia and Joanna further claimed that D'Andrea leveraged his position as their father's manager.

Tony and Antonia Bennett in New York, circa 2002. | Source: Getty Images

Tony and Antonia Bennett in New York, circa 2002. | Source: Getty Images

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The sisters argued that their stepbrother and his legal team failed to give a full account of their late father's property and assets. This was despite them having vested rights and interests as beneficiaries.

"Although Danny and his counsel have provided piecemeal information and produced some documents to Petitioners' counsel, the information provided raises more questions than answers and fails to provide anything close to an accounting of Tony's assets and financial affairs," the filing asserted.

Joanna, Tony, and Antonia Bennett in New York City, circa 1984. | Source: Getty Images

Joanna, Tony, and Antonia Bennett in New York City, circa 1984. | Source: Getty Images

This lack of transparency fueled Antonia and Joanna's "well-founded concerns." These concerns were about the handling of Tony's finances and assets before and after his death.

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Antonia and Joanna reportedly demanded that all property and assets be "inventoried, accounted for, and distributed." They wanted this to be done according to the terms of the Family Trust.

Antonia, Tony, and Joanna Bennett at the singer's 65th birthday party in 1991. | Source: Getty Images

Antonia, Tony, and Joanna Bennett at the singer's 65th birthday party in 1991. | Source: Getty Images

They insisted that D'Andrea provided a full disclosure of all principal, interest, receipts, disbursements, expenditures, and tax returns associated with the estate.

The also sisters believed that the reported value of Tony's estate was significantly understated. Antonia and Joanna pointed out that their father's concerts made over $100 million. This was during his last 15 years.

Tony and Antonia Bennett at the 2006 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada. | Source: Getty Images

Tony and Antonia Bennett at the 2006 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada. | Source: Getty Images

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However, they were told that his estate was allegedly around $7 million. This raised suspicions and doubts about the current valuation of the estate. "Tony would be turning over in his grave to see his children at each other's throats over his money," a source close to the family revealed.

D'Andrea, Antonia, and Tony Bennett at the MusiCares 2004 Person of the Year Tribute to Sting on February 6, 2003, in Culver City, California. | Source: Getty Images

D'Andrea, Antonia, and Tony Bennett at the MusiCares 2004 Person of the Year Tribute to Sting on February 6, 2003, in Culver City, California. | Source: Getty Images

Voices of Discontent: Tony Bennett's Daughters Speak Out Amid Inheritance Dispute

In June 2024, Tony's daughters broke their silence about the inheritance battle. They expressed their distress during an exclusive interview with the Daily Mail. The sisters opened up about their brother's lack of transparency as the trustee of their father's estate.

Joanna, Tony, and Antonia Bennett at the singer's 85th birthday gala on September 18, 2011, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

Joanna, Tony, and Antonia Bennett at the singer's 85th birthday gala on September 18, 2011, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

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Antonia and Joanna voiced their frustration and said they had "numerous unanswered questions." As beneficiaries, they wanted to know what was happening with their father's estate.

"Our primary objective is to uncover the truth about the estate management, the deals that were made, and the distribution of the proceeds to the Family Trust," they emphasized.

Antonia and Joanna Bennett at the Susan and Tony Bennett's "Exploring the Arts" Gala on September 23, 2008, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

Antonia and Joanna Bennett at the Susan and Tony Bennett's "Exploring the Arts" Gala on September 23, 2008, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

The sisters believed their father would have wanted his children to remain united. They added that Tony would have wanted his specific wishes for the estate honored. This should have been done without resorting to legal disputes.

The daughters revealed that their father's estate plan had a clear outline. It reportedly stated that all his children were to share his estate as named beneficiaries equally.

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Joanna and Antonia Bennett at the launch party for David Adler's documentary "MAFIA NEW YORK" on September 12, 2002, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

Joanna and Antonia Bennett at the launch party for David Adler's documentary "MAFIA NEW YORK" on September 12, 2002, in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

This included personal belongings, residual assets, income streams, copyrights, and royalties. In their lawsuit, Antonia and Joanna alleged that D'Andrea had mishandled their father's assets.

"We have made every conceivable effort since to obtain vital information about our father's estate, as beneficiaries of the estate," they stated. The daughters described their requests for information as "reasonable." They further criticized D'Andrea and his legal counsel.

Joanna, Tony, and Antonia Bennett, circa 1993. | Source: Getty Images

Joanna, Tony, and Antonia Bennett, circa 1993. | Source: Getty Images

"I no longer have a relationship with Danny and Susan," Joanna admitted. This highlighted the emotional strain the legal battle imposed on familial relationships.

The Bennett sisters' public statements showed the complex and emotional nature of the dispute. As the legal proceedings continued, hope for a resolution that honored Tony Bennett's wishes was paramount.

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