Dick Contino

Highest Rated: Not Available
Lowest Rated: Not Available
Birthday: Jan 17, 1930
Birthplace: Not Available
Dick Contino started his entertainment career as an accordion virtuoso -- at one time he was known as "the Valentino of the Accordion." He rose to fame by winning first prize in an amateur talent competition run by bandleader Horace Heidt. He later broke away from Heidt and, after forming his own band, became an extremely popular entertainer in the years 1949-1951. A scandal involving his attempt to evade the draft in April 1951 led to his imprisonment for six months, which was followed by military service in Korea. He was discharged honorably with the rank of sergeant, and attempted a return to the music business as a singer in the mode of Vic Damone in the mid- to late '50s. His film career, consisting of four movies, stemmed from that comeback. With his solid build and dark good looks, Contino was attractive enough by the standards of the time, but he had very little acting ability, based on the evidence of the four movies in which he appeared. Additionally, he had the bad fortune to fall in with producer Albert Zugsmith, who cast him in such sleazy exploitation films as Girls' Town and The Beat Generation. He got a starring role in one American International Pictures release, Daddy-O, directed by Lou Place, portraying a truck driver-turned-singer involved with thugs, but he lacked the screen charisma to pull off the part. Contino had disappeared from popular culture after his appearance in 1960's The Big Night, though he continued performing as an accordionist and singer. He re-emerged, after a fashion, in 1991 when Daddy-O was revived by Mystery Science Theater 3000 in that program's satiric film showcase format. Many of the MST3K characters' jokes during the presentation of Daddy-O on the Comedy Central cable channel (the widest exposure that Contino had enjoyed since the early '50s) came at the expense of his appearance and his acting and singing talents. He remains something of a '50s pop icon to this day, however, and is still remembered by accordion players the world over. Contino was married to actress Leigh Snowden for 25 years, until her death from cancer in 1982.



No Score Yet The Big Night Carl Farrow 1960
No Score Yet The Beat Generation Singing Beatnik 1959
No Score Yet Daddy-'O' Phil Sandifer 1958


No quotes approved yet.