Frankie Avalon has amassed a net worth of approximately $30 million over the course of his decades-long career.
The young boy who began as a trumpet prodigy, then became a succesful recording artist, before he earned teen idol status from his roles in movies and TV. He still has legions of fans who remember him from these glory days.
He’s not planning on stepping off the stage any time soon, but his priorities have shifted towards family and personal business ventures.
Like and subscribe for more on this massive star’s journey. Watch our video to learn what happened to Frankie Avalon, former teen idol.
Frankie’s Early Life and Career
Francis Thomas Avallone was born on September 18, 1940, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Italian parents Mary and Nicholas Avallone. His father taught him to play the trumpet, and he considered himself lucky that he was able to learn quickly. His talent with the instrument was the beginning of his long and successful career.
Frankie began playing the trumpet at local clubs and theaters and eventually won a local TV talent contest. He joined a band called Rocco and the Saints in 1951, and a talent scout saw him play at a private party for singer Al Martino. Frankie made his TV debut at the age of 11 in December of 1952 on the Jackie Gleason Show when he played the trumped during the Honeymooners Christmas Party sketch. He continued to play with his band while he was a teenager but eventually entered the recording business.
By 1954, he had 2 singles featuring him playing the trumpet on RCA Victor’s X sublabel as well as an LP. Philadelphia’s Chancellor Records eventually signed him to a contract and recorded his singles Cupid and Teacher’s Pet. He disliked his next record, Dee Dinah, but an appearance on American Bandstand in 1952 made it popular and led it to sell over 1 million copies. His later record Venus was his most successful and sold over 1 million copies.
31 of Frankie’s singles released from 1958-1962 appeared on the U.S. Billboard charts. Just Ask Your Heart reached #7, I’ll Wait For You reached #15, Bobby Sox to Stockings reached #8, and A Boy Without a Girl reached #10. His most popular songs both released in 1959, including Venus, which spent 5 weeks at #1, and Why which also reached #1. He was less popular in the UK but charted there with his songs Why, Ginger Bread, Venus, and Don’t Throw Away All Those Teardrops. This was one of his most successful periods in the music business. But he soon found another outlet once his songs stopped charting so high.
Frankie became a major film and TV star after his music career slowed down in the 60s. He earned roles in over 30 films. At least 10 of which were with the production company AIP or American International Pictures. His first one was a small part in Jamboree in 1957, where he played the trumpet and sang Teacher’s Pet. Alan Ladd’s daughter was a fan and recommended him for a supporting role in Rio Bravo in 1959. In 1960, he appeared with Alan in Guns of the Timberland where he sang The Faithful Kind and Gee Whiz Wikllikins Golly Gee and both songs released as singles. John Wayne saw the film and gave him a part in The Alamo in 1960. And calling him the finest young talent he’d seen in a long time.
His first starring role was in Drums of Africa in 1963. That followed up by one of his most memorable films; Beach Party. The musical comedy became so popular that it spawned sequels, including Muscle Beach Party in 1963 and Bikini Beach and Pajama Party in 1964. By January 1966, he said he no longer wanted to make beach films and was getting a little sick of sand. That lasted until his appearance in Back to the Beach It was released in 1987 as a tongue-in-cheek parody and homage to his former beach movies
Frankie’s TV appearances included turns on The Bing Crosby Show, The Patty Duke Show, an episode of Combat. As well as serving as the official spokesperson for Sonic Drive-In. Frankie even tried his hand at voice acting with the English version of the Japanese musical anime Alakazam the Great in 1960.
His career slowed down slightly in the 70s and 80s, but he continued to perform whenever he was able. He attempted to reinvent himself in 1976 when he released a new disco version of his hit song Venus.
The film The Idolmaker released in 1980 and served as a fictionalized biography of sorts detailing his life. And that of 1950s star Fabian Forte and songwriter and producer Bob Marcucci. Fabian threatened to sue them but dropped it after the filmmakers insisted that it was fictional.
Frankie appeared in Blood Song in 1982. He’s also made plenty of cameos over the years, often appearing as himself, such as an episode of Happy Days where he sang his own songs and an episode of Troop Beverly Hills.
Frankie also managed to find true love during his long and busy career. He married Kathryn Kay Diebel on January 19, 1963. Frankie met the beauty pageant winner while playing cards at a mutual friend’s house. He insisted he would marry her despite a warning from his agent that it would ruin his teen idol image. They’ve married for over 50 years, an achievement he chocks up to their love and respect for one another. They also have 10 grandchildren and 8 children; Frankie Jr., Tony, Dina, Laura, Joseph, Nicolas, Kathryn, and Carla.
Continuing to Sing
Anyone who doesn’t recognize Frankie’s talent needs only to look at all the accolades he’s earned over his lifetime. He was dubbed the King of Songs in 1957. He also earned the Photography Magazine Gold Award in the popular vocalist category and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995.
Luckily for the world, he hasn’t chosen to keep his stellar voice from us in his later years. He performed in several nightclubs in Las Vegas. He also began a 50-city tour with Fabiano Forte and Bobby Rydell in 1985. They collectively called themselves The Golden Boys of Bandstand.
He also appeared on American Idol in April of 2009, singing his hit song Venus. It was only one of many times he would surprise his fans with a pitch-perfect performance.
Like and subscribe to Facts Verse for more updates on the lives of your favorite celebrities. Keep watching to learn how Frankie Avalon is spending his life today, from reimagined roles to new business ventures.
The Teen Angel Flies Again
Frankie first appeared as the Teen Angel singing Beauty School Dropout in the 1978 musical Grease. It brought his name back into the public consciousness and introduced him to younger viewers. They finally got to see what all the hype about the teen idol their parents and grandparents adored was all about. Despite the success of his other records, he considers Beauty School Dropout to be his most popular song because of the success of the musical’s soundtrack and the enduring love of its rabid fanbase. Perhaps this is why he continues to keep the Teen Angel alive. He still plays the role in stage productions of Grease and performed Beauty School Dropout in the finale of the NBC reality show Grease: You’re the One That I Want!
On October 18, 2021, Frankie surprised contestants Amanda Kloots and Alan Bersten during Grease Night on Dancing with the Stars. The judges thrilled to see him; Len Goodman called him one of her teenage heroes. And Bruno Tonioli felt it was as if he stepped out of a dream. He may have even contributed to the fact that Amanda and Alan received a combined score of 39 out of 40, the highest of the season.
Playing the Teen Angel is a way for Frankie Avalon to bring back his former teen idol appeal. But he still has plenty of fans who remember him no matter what he sings. He’s also found other ways to fill his time when he’s not singing.
Frankie Avalon Products
Frankie’s interests extend beyond entertainment. He always said that he’d prefer to be referred to as a singer, dancer, and actor and never wanted to be just one thing. His latest interest is marketing, and he’s working to create and market products to make the world a better place.
He promoted Frankie Avalon Products, a line of health solutions and cosmetics, on the Home Shopping Network. This line included an arthritis product called Frankie Avalon’s Zero Pain Roll-On Arthritis Pain Reliever.
Frankie Avalon the Chef
Most men and women who grow up in an Italian-American family learn how to cook and have several memories centered around the table from a young age, and Frankie is no exception. A friend convinced him to compile all of his knowledge and treasured recipes in a cookbook, and he decided it was a wonderful idea. He released a cookbook titled Frankie Avalon’s Italian Family Cookbook: From Mine to Yours in 2015. It has over 80 family recipes that he and his older sister Theresa collected from their mother.
He even launched his own food company called Frankie Avalon Foods. It’s focused on delivering classic Italian meals with high-quality ingredients.
Frankie hopes that these efforts will help spread his love of the culinary arts to everyone. He says that he doesn’t believe that anyone doesn’t have enough time to cook and considers it a bonding experience when done with someone else. He also insists on maintaining the tradition of Sunday dinners at his house.
Frankie Avalon’s enduring legacy is undeniable. Fans cheer when he returns as the teen angel or sings his other old hits. He’s also been mentioned in several modern songs such as System of a Down’s Old School Hollywood and It Takes Two from the musical Hairspray. He made the most of a decades-long career and has settled into a calmer lifestyle today
Do you know former teen idol Frankie Avalon from his music or his movie and TV appearances? Let us know in the comments below. Like and subscribe to Facts Verse for more updates on the most memorable teen idols of all time.