Tino Rossi

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Tino Rossi
Tino Rossi.jpg
Background information
Birth name Constantin Rossi
Born (1907-04-29)29 April 1907
Origin Ajaccio, Corsica, France
Died 26 September 1983 (age 76)
Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
Genres Cabaret, French pop
Occupation(s) Singer, actor
Years active 1932–1982
Labels Columbia

Constantin "Tino" Rossi (29 April 1907 – 26 September 1983) was a French singer and film actor.

Rossi, born in Ajaccio, Corsica, was gifted with a voice well suited for opera. He became a tenor in the French cabaret-style. Later, he appeared in various movies. During his career he recorded hundreds of songs and he appeared in more than 25 films, the most notable of which was the 1954 production, Si Versailles m'était conté... directed by Sacha Guitry. His romantic ballads had especially women swooning and his art-songs by Jules Massenet (1842–1912), Reynaldo Hahn (1875–1947), and other composers, sold out theaters wherever he performed.[1]

He remains the only French singer to have sold more than 700 million records. His disc "Petit Papa Noël" alone sold 80 million copies worldwide.[2]


As a young man, Rossi played guitar and sang in many places of his hometown of Ajaccio, but later he went to perform in Marseille and at resort clubs along the French Riviera. In the early 1930s he went to Paris and within a few years achieved enormous success, joining a Columbia Records roster that included the biggest stars of the day such as Lucienne Boyer, Damia, Pills et Tabet, Mireille, and Jean Sablon.

Rossi's success was greatly aided by songwriter Vincent Scotto (1876–1952), who wrote his first hits and collaborated with him for many years, composing and arranging many of Rossi's songs. Prior to World War II, Rossi was a major box office attraction in the French speaking world, and expanded his audience 1938 to North America and Canada during a first visit there. Rossi began his film career with a role in Les Nuits Moscovites (1934); his first real success came with Marinella (1936).

During the Occupation of France by Nazi Germany Rossi's film career reached its peak, notably with Fièvres (1942), Le Soleil a toujours raison (1943), Mon amour est près de toi (1943) and L'Île d'amour (1944). Like many celebrities, Tino Rossi is stopped on October 7, 1944 by several police officers in search of information on the Corsican close friend of him Etienne Leandri, suspected of active collaborationnism. Following a three months detention to the prison of Fresnes, near Paris, during which he obstinately refused the assistance of a lawyer, he will be exempted of any continuation by a judge considering the instruction assembled against him stripped of fondements. Tino Rossi who, in October 1943, lent its personal car to a resistance network to transport weapons and to allow several escapes (of which that of a general), accepted – extremely rare fact at the time – exceptional official excuses.[3]

In 1946 his song Petit Papa Noël sold more than thirty million copies worldwide. A Christmas classic for the family, the song still sells by the thousands each December. The recipient of many musical awards, including the prestigious Grand Prix du Disque, Rossi is the most popular personality to ever come from Corsica other than Napoleon Bonaparte.

Personal life[edit]

In 1948 Tino Rossi married Lilia Vetti, a young dancer he had met in 1941 thanks to revue leader Mistinguett. They had one son Laurent (1948-2015) and remained married to each other until his death. In 1982 President François Mitterrand named Rossi a Commander of the Legion of Honor for his contributions to French culture. That same year Rossi gave his last public performance at the Casino de Paris, a show that popular demand turned into a three-month stint.[4]


Rossi died of pancreatic cancer in 1983 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. His body was transported to Ajaccio for burial in the family grave. His wife died in 2003 aged 79. Ajaccio named a street and the sailing harbor in his honor and in Nogent-sur-Marne, there is a square named Tino Rossi Square. Tino Rossi's unique status on Corsica is reflected in several (somewhat hidden) references to him in the comic book "Asterix in Corsica" (1973) by Uderzo and Goscinny.[5]

Selected filmography[edit]


  1. ^ Brown, Marisa. "Tino Rossi profile". AllMusic.com. Retrieved 29 March 2011. 
  2. ^ Profile, leparisien.fr; 29 October 2012.
  3. ^ Last biography on Tino Rossi by Emmanuel Bonini, Le Vrai Tino, Didier Carpentier editor, 2013.
  4. ^ Laurent Rossi and Anne-Sophie Simonet, Tino - L'Étoile éternelle (foreword of Mrs Marcel Pagnol), Nice-Matin editor, 2013.
  5. ^ The hero of the cartoon refers in particular to the success Tchi-Tchi (1936).

External links[edit]