See Former Teen Idol Frankie Avalon Now at 81
You can still see the singer perform live today.
For four years in the late 1950s and early '60s, Frankie Avalon dominated the pop charts. His career as a recording artist was relatively short, but during that time he had 31 singles make it onto the Billboard Hot 100 and two No. 1 hits with "Why" and "Venus." After making his mark as a singer, Avalon focused on his career as an actor throughout the '60s, appearing in The Alamo with John Wayne and the Beach Party movie franchise with Annette Funicello.
As the years went on, Avalon didn't act as much—save some cameo appearances, such as one in 1995's Casino—but he continued to perform his music live, which he still does to this day. He's also spent the years raising his large family with his wife of nearly 60 years. Read on to find out more about Avalon's life today.
He reprised his Grease role on stage.
In the 1978 movie Grease, Avalon played the Teen Angel, performing the song "Beauty School Dropout" in Frenchie's dream sequence.
"Sure, I was making fun of my old image in that movie, but why not? You've got to laugh at yourself," he told the Toronto Star in 2013.
Avalon has since played the role again, touring in a production of the musical in 2003. "Grease is the most successful thing I've ever been part of," he told Playbill at the time. "It spans generations. If I go to a restaurant or if I'm at an airport and people recognize me, it amazes me that most of them know me from Grease."
He's still touring, sometimes with some old friends.
Avalon still performs his music live—sometimes with his own show, and sometimes with fellow former teen idols Bobby Rydell and Fabian as The Golden Boys. The three have been performing together since 1985.
"The show that I do is the show that people want to hear," Avalon told KTLA in 2019. "I don't do any of this new stuff … I do 'Venus,' 'DeDe Dinah,' 'Ginger Bread,' 'Beauty School Dropout.' I've got surprises. My son plays with me. I get out in the audience. I talk to the people. And it's a different kind of show. I've done it for a lot of years, and I still enjoy it."
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He's made appearances on popular reality shows.
Avalon has performed on popular TV shows, such as American Idol in 2009 and Dancing with the Stars in 2021. He hasn't appeared on camera playing anyone other than himself much recently, except for in the 2018 drama movie Papa.
He's a grandfather of 10.
Avalon married his wife, Kay Diebel, in 1963, meaning they celebrate their 59th wedding anniversary this year. The couple have eight children together and 10 grandchildren.
"What's my secret? Patience," Avalon told the Toronto Star of his relationship. "You just gotta have patience. Everything in a relationship isn't always 100 percent all of the time. Sometimes it dips down to 50 percent, to 40 percent, maybe even lower. But you handle it. You stay with it. You make it work."
Speaking to Playbill, Avalon credited the Beach Party series for helping him support his big family. "Those movies limited me, without a doubt," he said. "But I didn't care. I enjoyed them. Then came a part of my career where I wanted to do other stuff, and no one would let me. It was frustrating, but I got over it. Now I think, 'Thank God for those movies.' They kept me around and put my [eight] kids through school, and they were wonderful times."