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By Barb Kieffer, Ohio
Darinfan Since

I first heard or saw Bobby on American Bandstand. I was 9 years old, and his performance was just electrical. He sang "Mack The Knife." Even at that young age, he made an impression on me. Unfortunately it was many years later that I "rediscovered" him. I do remember hearing "Mack" constantly on the radio too at the time.

My favorite acting role he did was Jerry Dundee in State Fair. I know it wasn't a stretch for him as an actor, but I just loved the character. (I actually think there was a lot of the real "Bobby" in Jerry.) For example, when he wasn't afraid to do a live broadcast of a car race with no preparation or experience. I think Bobby was fearless when it came to anything related to show business, and would have reacted the same way.

I remember hearing on the radio that Bobby had passed away, and I was surprised he died at such a young age. It was years before I learned more about his health problems, and what a struggle he had all his life with his heart condition. I think the excitement of the audience really kept him going. I've never heard of a performer that was more dedicated.

His musical legacy for me is "Mack The Knife." How many millions of people know the song just by those first few bars? Acting I think he will be remembered for his performances in Caption Newman, MD and Pressure Point. He deserved the Oscar for both of those performances. Songwriting there are so many gems. Dream Lover is my very favorite, and "Rainin'" is a close second. "Simple Song of Freedom" will stand the test of time as being a classic. The message is timeless.

To me Bobby was the consummate performer. (He had to be good for Sammy Davis, Jr. stating he would never follow him.)

He could do it all, and well. There hasn't been anyone since that compares to Bobby.

Bobby's most underrated performance I think was in Wagon Train. He played John Gilman, and he should have won an Emmy. He showed what a tremendous actor he was.

Barb Kieffer


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