by AD Amorosi
April 5, 2022
Bobby Rydell, the epitome of the early ’60s “teen idol,” who parlayed that fame into a starring role opposite Ann-Margret in the 1963 film “Bye Bye Birdie,” died today at age 79. The cause of death was pneumonia.
His death just days away from his 80th birthday was confirmed by radio legend Jerry Blavat, Rydell’s longtime friend from the singer’s South Philadelphia stomping grounds. “Out of all the kids” from that era, Blavat said, “he had the best pipes and was the greatest entertainer. He told the best stories. did the best impersonations and was the nicest guy.”
Rydell’s fame as the epitome of an American teen pop star in the days just prior to rock’s British Invasion was such that Rydell High School in the Broadway musical and subsequent film “Grease” was named after him. An actor also portrayed him in a performance scene in the film “Green Book.”
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