Bobby Rydell’s last wishes

South Philadelphia’s Bobby Rydell, who would have turned 80 on April 26, died April 5 of noncovid pneumonia at Jefferson Abington, his wife Linda Hoffman tells me.

Services were private and his ashes will be divided between his first wife’s grave — that would be his beloved Camille — and, yes, the city of Wildwood, where a memorial service will be held this summer.

“Wildwood Days,” of course.

(Clockwise from top left): Bobby Rydell in mid-career, Bobby as a senior citizen, Bobby dancing with Ann-Margret in a ”Bye Bye Birdie” dance number that took three weeks to film, he told me. (Montage: New York Post)

“All he knew was performing, and if he could not do that he would have died emotionally, so I am glad he did what he loved until the end,” Linda told me.

She was distressed by false accounts of his death on social media. What I have reported here comes directly from his wife, who was with him when he died. Ignore everything else.

Linda was thankful he lived as long as he did, such as by surviving his liver and kidney transplants, necessary because of alcoholism after Camille was diagnosed with breast cancer. I wrote about this in 2016, following the publication of his tell-all biography.

Bobby was able to climb out of the bottle, and was able to find himself again, with help from Linda.

When I wrote about his bio, I visited with him at his home and saw how much he loved life, loved Linda, loved his dogs, loved an occasional glass of wine, and loved his Philadelphia sports memorabilia room.

He loved all Philly sports, as he loved his native city.

He also loved and respected his fans, who loved him back by giving him a career that lasted more than six decades. His friends from his youth were his friends at his death, because Bobby never changed. 

Oh, and he loved Wildwood. It was far more than a song to him.

Wildwood will miss him, Philly will miss him, the world will miss him, and I will miss him. 

Goodbye, Bobby. You were the best. 

8 thoughts on “Bobby Rydell’s last wishes”

  1. We’re all on the same road, to the same destination. RIP, Bobby. See you soon.

    1. Vince, while I do hope you get to see Bobby I pray it is not for a long, long time.

      1. What a nice note. Thank you.
        As Woody Allen famously said, “I’m not afraid of dying. I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”

        1. You are welcome Vince.
          Thank you for the Woody Allen quote. I do not remember ever hearing it before but it is funny.

    For people like Bobby, I hope that there is an afterlife far greater than we can imagine.
    Conversely, for putin and his like, may hell be an everlasting torment far more torturous than we can imagine.

  3. 1977 Freedom Week Concert in front of Art Museum. He put on a great show. Had about 30,000 people singing and dancing with his songs. When I hear Wildwood days, my memory goes back to that night, what a great performance. RIP

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