×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Nick Perito

Conductor, composer, arranger

Nick Perito, a conductor, composer and arranger whose career spanned more than 50 years, died of pulmonary fibrosis Aug. 3 at the Motion Picture Country Home in Calabasas, Calif. He was 81.

Known primarily as Perry Como’s arranger and musical director, he also worked with Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Dorothy Dandridge, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras, Linda Ronstadt, Diana Ross, Patti LuPone, Regis Philbin, Kathryn Crosby and Dolores and Bob Hope.

Denver native helped pay the bills as a child by playing accordion at local parties and restaurants. In high school he got a job as an accordion player on a local radio show and then studied piano at Denver U.’s Lamont School of Music. During WWII, he was transferred to Staten Island, where he worked as pianist and arranger for the Army Band.

Following the war he attended Juilliard School of Music.

After touring the country as conductor-accompanist to Dandridge, he settled in New York and became part of the “round table” of Gotham’s musical arrangers, including Nelson Riddle, Billy May and Don Costa.

His decades-long association with Como began in 1963 as arranger for “The Perry Como Show.” The following year he became Como’s conductor for studio recordings, television specials and world tours.

In addition to Como, he served as musical director for “The Hollywood Palace,” “The Don Knotts Variety Show,” “American Film Institute Awards” and, from 1979-93, “The Kennedy Center Honors.” Over the years he garnered 12 Emmy nominations for his work.

In 1993 he became musical director for Bob Hope and arranger-conductor for Dolores Hope, with whom he recorded six albums.

He is survived by his wife, Judy; a daughter; and two sons.

More Scene

  • Laurie Metcalf, John Lithgow'Hillary and Clinton'

    Why John Lithgow Worried About Starring in Broadway's 'Hillary and Clinton'

    When Lucas Hnath first conceived of “Hillary and Clinton” in 2008, he was writing for and about a very different America. Now, a total reimagining of the show has made its way to Broadway with Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow in the titular roles. At the opening on Thursday night, the cast and creatives talked [...]

  • Patrick Page, Amber Grey, Eva Noblezada,

    'Hadestown' Took 12 Years to Get to Broadway, but It's More Relevant Than Ever

    When “Hadestown” was first staged as a tiny, DIY theater project in Vermont, those involved could never have predicted that it was the start of a 12-year journey to Broadway — or how painfully relevant it would be when it arrived. At Wednesday night’s opening at the Walter Kerr Theatre, the cast and creatives discussed [...]

  • Mick Jagger

    Mick Jagger Makes First Post-Surgery Appearance at Rolling Stones Ballet Premiere

    Rock legend Mick Jagger made his first public appearance post-heart surgery on Thursday night to catch a glimpse of the world premiere of the Rolling Stones ballet “Porte Rouge.” “I hope you are going to enjoy this wonderful new ballet, and, of course, the music,” the frontman declared in a pre-recorded message to the audience [...]

  • Adam Driver appears at the curtain

    Adam Driver on Starring in 'Burn This' for a Second Time

    The Hudson Theatre’s new production of “Burn This” marks its first Broadway revival since it premiered on the Great White Way in 1987, but Adam Driver is no stranger to the work. He starred as Pale in a Juilliard production of the Lanford Wilson drama when he was still a student — and only now, [...]

  • PMC Event Rome

    Film, Fashion, Formula E Mix at Rome E-Prix Bash

    Film, fashion and Formula E auto-racing fused during a dinner and celebration of the Rome E-Prix on Thursday at the Palazzo Dama by the Piazza del Popolo in the heart of the Eternal City.  Guests mingled and sipped cocktails as hors d’oeuvres were passed around in a former home of the Italian nobility with conversation [...]

  • Katy Perry, Diane von Furstenberg, Arianna

    Katy Perry and Anita Hill Honored at the DVF Awards

    Katy Perry was among the honorees at the 10th Annual DVF Awards on Thursday night. The singer was recognized for her advocacy work with both UNICEF and the LGBTQ community. “Music has opened the doors for so many opportunities for me,” she said while accepting the inspiration award. “The ability to meet people and champion [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content