Tony Bennett, Jazzy Croner of the American Songbook, Is Dead at 96

He recorded albums that honored the musicians he admired—Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday—and collaborated on standards with singers half or less his age. On the 2006 album Duets: An American Classic, he sang “If I Ruled the World” with Ms. Dion, “Smile” with Barbra Streisand and “For Once in My Life” with Stevie Wonder, and revisited his first Columbia single, “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” with Sting. Five years later, in “Duets II”, his collaborators included Aretha Franklin, Queen Latifah, Willie Nelson and Mrs. Winehouse.

As the century changed, he was again touring, giving up to 200 shows a year, and recording prolifically.

In 2007, Mr. Bennett married for the third time, to his long-time companion, Susan Crowe, a teacher four decades his junior whom he had met in the late 1980s. Together, they created a foundation, Exploring the Arts, which supports art education in schools, and funded the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, a public high school in Queens.

Mrs. Weiner, his publicist, said Mr. Bennett had lived in the same Manhattan apartment where he had died, for most of his adult life, except for a few years in Los Angeles and London. he lives because of his wife; his sons Danny and Day; his daughters Joanna and Antonia Bennett; and 9 grandchildren.

If there was a magical edge to Mr. Bennett’s life, as suggested by David Evanier in a glowing 2011 biography All the Things You Are: The Life of Tony Bennett, it was summed up by a story Mr. Bennett told Whitney Ballet in 1974.

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“I love the funny things in life that can only happen to me now,” he said. “One time, when I was singing Kurt Weill’s ‘Lost in the Stars’ at the Hollywood Bowl with Basie and Buddy Rich on drums, a shooting star fell in the sky above my head and everyone was talking about it, and the next morning the phone rang and Ray Charles, who I had never met, was calling from New York. He said, ‘Hey, Tony, how did you do that, man?’ And hung up.”

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