A former child TV star, Frankie Avalon was one of America's first pop stars, who scored the last US Number 1 of the 1950s with Why? He was barely 20 at the time but had already become a teen heartthrob having first appeared on American TV playing trumpet from the age of 12. He also played with Bobby Rydell in the teen band Rocco & The Saints, launching his own career as a solo star and in 1959 he topped the US charts for five weeks with Venus, followed by Why? It triggered an amazing run of 31 major US hits over the next four years, including Just Ask Your Heart, I'll Wait For You, A Boy Without A Girl and Bobby Sox To Stockings, all written/produced by Bob Marcucci. This led to a supplementary career as a film star, appearing in a popular series of "beach party" comedy films with Annette Funicello, while he went on to more dramatic roles with John Wayne in The Alamo and Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea. In 1978 Avalon played Teen Angel, singing Beauty School Drop-Out in the hit movie Grease and the lives of Avalon and another 1950s teen star Fabian are said to have been the inspiration for the 1980 film The Idolmaker, though they both denounced the film. Avalon made a cameo appearance with Robert De Niro in the 1995 film Casino, continuing to appear in films and occasional tour with a band including his sons Frankie Jnr and Tony.