Tony Butala (Anthony Francis Butala)
BiographySharon, Pennsylvania, USA
Tony Butala was born in Sharon, Pennsylvania to John and Mary Butala. He began his professional singing career in 1948, singing in "Starlets On Parade" on KDKA Radio in Pittsburgh, as well as performing live as an Al Jolson, Ted Lewis and Eddie Cantor black-face impersonator. In 1951, Tony went to California and became a member of the famous 'The Robert Mitchell Boys' Choir'. Read more... Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. In addition, Tony's voice can be heard singing in Walt Disney's animated Peter Pan (1953) as the lost boys and also as Tommy Rettig's singing voice in the Dr. Seuss classic The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T. (1953), both released in 1952. As a teenager, Tony began singing with his first group, "The Fourmost" (a quartet whose members included Connie Stevens). Tony Butala was the guiding force in the formation of The Lettermen. In 1958, the very first Lettermen group appeared as "The Rhythm Boys" in "New Comers of 1928", a Las Vegas revue which also starred such legends as Paul Whiteman, Buster Keaton, Rudy Vallee, Harry Richman, 'Fifi D'Orsay' and Billy Gilbert. The group then consisted of Tony, Mike Barnett and Talmadge Russell (who was later replaced by Jerry Paul). The first recording by the trio came later that same year (the group made up of Tony Butala, Gary Clark and 'Jimmy Blaine'). The Lettermen's first hit single was released in 1961 and hit after hit followed. The group then consisted of Tony, Jim Pike and Bob Engemann. Through the years, there were several personnel changes, but one constant has always remained with The Lettermen--Tony Butala. His musical talents and constant promotion of goodwill have helped to win The Lettermen millions of fans worldwide. The Lettermen are probably the most prolific singers of love songs in the history of music. Their longevity in the entertainment business is unparalleled. When he's not performing, Tony spends much of his time in his home town of Sharon, Pennsylvania, overseeing the Vocal Group Hall of Fame and Museum, which opened its doors in 1998. He also has been developing his 40 acre vineyard in Napa Valley since 1987. He is the father of four children and two grandchildren.