(born Nicola Tomaso Leonetti, 10 September 1929
, Bergen County
, New Jersey
— died 15 September 1979
, U.S.) was an American pop singer-songwriter
of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. In Australia
, his most famous song was "My City of Sydney" (written by Leonetti & Robert Troup) and was used by Sydney
TV channel ATN7
for station identification into the 1980s. In America, he achieved greater success as a songwriter
Leonetti married American actress, Cindy Robbins and was stepfather to her daughter Kimberly Beck
. They lived in Sydney
, Australia in the 1960s and 1970s before returning to America.
Leonetti acted in minor roles in American TV series
: Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.
(1964-5 as 'Cpl. Nick Cuccinelli'), I Spy
(1966), Hawaii Five-O
(1977), The Waltons
(1978) and The Eddie Capra Mysteries
(1978). He had a film role in The Human Duplicators
(1965) an SF alien invasion movie.
Singer & entertainer
"Free", Leonetti's 1956 single has been described as a US one-hit wonder
peaking at #23, he also had a minor hit with his version of "I Cried
" which reached #30 in 1954. Your Hit Parade
(1957–1958), The Steve Allen Show
(1958–1959) and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
(1971–1973) featured performances by Leonetti. Whilst in Australia, Leonetti hosted his own talk-show
in the early 1970s for ATN7 and provided the basis for the parody character Norman Gunstan
according to creator Gary McDonald
Leonetti's rendition of "My City of Sydney" as used by ATN7 for nightly sign-off
can be viewed on YouTube
Sydney punk rockers XL Capris
(with lead vocalist Johanna Pigott
) provided their version in 1979 (also on YouTube
), this promo includes blue-tinged portions from Leonetti's TV sign-off. Other versions were performed by yodeller Mary Schneider
, 1990s punk rockers Frenzal Rhomb
and James Valentine
on his radio show in February 2008.
Songwriter & music composer
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP
) lists 49 works credited to "Tommy Leonetti". Music for films included: Squeeze a Flower
(1970), Massacre at Central High
(1976, starred stepdaughter Beck) and She Came to the Valley
(1979). He also co-wrote (with Jill Williams) and sang "Cross Roads" for Massacre at Central High
. TV music included: The ABC Weekend Special
episodes 1.2 "The Ransom of Red Chief", 1.9 "Soup and Me", 2.5 "Little Lulu" and 2.6 "Soup for President".
Leonetti died in 1979 of cancer at the age of 50. Gravestone name is "Nicholas Tommy Leonetti".