COVID-19 has claimed the life of another legendary musician. Tommy DeVito, an original member of New Jersey pop-rock sensations The Four Seasons, has died of the disease after recently being hospitalized with it. The Belleville native was 92.
DeVito’s friend, actor Alfredo Nittoli, posted today on Facebook: “My dear friend Tommy passed away in Las Vegas at 9:45 last night with deep regret I am writing this sitting in his living room I was informed by his daughter Darcel there will be a service in New Jersey.”
Later, surviving Four Seasons members Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio posted the following joint message on Facebook: “It is with great sadness that we report that Tommy DeVito, a founding member of The Four Seasons, has passed. We send our love to his family during this most difficult time. He will be missed by all who loved him.”
Singer-guitarist DeVito (born Gaetano DeVito) and Valli had been performing together in The Four Lovers and The Variatones since 1954 when they formed The Four Seasons with Bob Gaudio and Nick Massi in 1960. From 1962 to 1967 they were regularly in the Top 10 with hits such as “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Dawn (Go Away),” “Rag Doll,” “Let’s Hang On!” and “Working My Way Back to You.”
As portrayed in the hit 2005 Broadway musical “Jersey Boys” and the movie that followed, DeVito had the fieriest personality of the four original members.
“I think people connect with it because they see the story about guys from the wrong side of the tracks who are toughin’ it up, arguing, and you’re also hearing the stories about the mob,” DeVito said of “Jersey Boys” in 2006. “It’s a rags to riches story about tough guys and good guys.”
He remained in The Four Seasons until 1971. In 2007, he released an instrumental album, A Man 4 All Seasons: 1st Season — Summer. He also did some acting, and had a small role in the 1995 movie “Casino.”
He and The Four Seasons were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.
Here is a vintage video of The Four Seasons. DeVito is second from left.
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