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Bobby Short died on Mon 21 Mar, aged 80.


Bobby Short
Born: 15 Sep 1924 - Died: 21 Mar 2005

Bobby Short, the suave, tuxedoed cabaret singer who epitomized Manhattan glamour and sophistication with renderings of the great American songbook, died of leukemia on Monday. He was 80.

Cafe Carlyle, the nightclub at the Carlyle Hotel where Short was an institution since 1968, closed Monday in homage to the musician who helped make it famous.

James McBride, the managing director of The Carlyle said in an official statement, "The Carlyle is deeply saddened by the passing of Bobby Short. With his quintessential style and sophistication, Bobby Short captured the hearts of us all over the past 35 years at the Caf� Carlyle. He is an American treasure who will be greatly missed"

Over the years, Short withstood constant changes in popular music tastes, from Frank Sinatra to Bruce Springsteen to Snoop Dogg, drawing in old fans and making new ones with his repertoire of Broadway, Tin Pan Alley and jazz tunes by Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, the Gershwins, Billy Strayhorn and Harold Arlen.

"My audience expects a certain amount of sophistication when they are coming to hear me," Short, who was born Robert Waltrip Short in Danville, Ill., and taught himself the piano as a boy, once said.

Despite his age, Short - who died at New York Presbyterian Hospital - was far from retiring, said Los Angeles-based publicist Virginia Wicks, who announced his death. He was scheduled to open the cafe's 50th anniversary season on the 3 May 2005 and perform again in the fall. But he wanted to make it his last year so he could travel and perform around the world, she said.

With his classic songs and suave presence, he entertained thousands over the years at the Carlyle. In 2003, he celebrated his 35th anniversary there, as familiar a New York landmark as the Empire State Building or Central Park.

"It's hard to imagine another entertainer like that coming along with as much knowledge and love for the American popular songbook," said Brent Wallarab, who wrote dozens of arrangements for Short and now is artistic director of the Buselli Wallarab Jazz Orchestra of Indianapolis. "He was never less than astounding."

Originally published on

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