Singer Jody Berry died Jan. 18 in Beverly Hills after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 68.
A native of Owensboro, Ky., Berry began a singing career at the age of 9 after seeing the film “The Jolson Story.” As a boxer, he won the Kentucky Golden Gloves heavyweight championship as a teenager.
He became a national nightclub singer, headlining the Catskill circuit in the East, as well as Los Angeles’ Cocoanut Grove and many other venues, where he was often billed as “The Singing Fighter.”
Berry appeared onstage in shows including “Guys and Dolls,” “Carousel,” “Oklahoma” and “Music Man.”
After appearing in “Celebrity Cavalcade” with Buddy Hackett, he starred in his own two musical reviews, including “Memory Lane of Fame,” in which he impersonated everyone from Enrico Caruso to Elvis Presley. He performed frequently at L.A.’s Happy Koomar’s 400 Club, where he met and sang with Ella Fitzgerald.
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When the nightclub era faded, Berry turned to fashion design, creating the L’Uoma Elegante line of men’s formal wear.
He was also part of a group who developed the TelePrompTer system.
His last public appearance was in 2003 at the Hollywood Cinegrill. A new CD recording, “For Lovers Over Fifty and Under,” will be released shortly.
He was active in charities including the Friars Club Foundation and served on the board of the Eichenbaum Foundation.
He is survived by wife Joni, a stepson, a brother and a niece.
Services and internment will be held Friday at noon at Hillside Memorial Park, 6001 Centinela, Los Angeles.
Donations may be made to SHARE, P.O. Box 1342, Beverly Hills, CA 90213.