Tino Rossi

Constantin "Tino" Rossi (29 April 1907 – 26 September 1983) was a French singer and film actor.

Tino Rossi
Background information
Birth nameConstantin Rossi
Born(1907-04-29)29 April 1907
Ajaccio, Corsica, France
Died26 September 1983(1983-09-26) (aged 76)
Neuilly-sur-Seine, Île-de-France, France
GenresCabaret, French pop
Occupation(s)Singer, actor
Years active1932–1982

Rossi, born in Ajaccio, Corsica, was gifted with a voice well suited for opera. He became a tenor in the French cabaret style. Later, he appeared in various movies. During his career he recorded hundreds of songs and he appeared in more than 25 films, the most notable of which was the 1954 production, Si Versailles m'était conté... directed by Sacha Guitry. His romantic ballads had especially women swooning and his art songs by Jules Massenet (1842–1912), Reynaldo Hahn (1875–1947), and other composers, sold out theaters wherever he performed.[1]


As a young man, Rossi played guitar and sang in many places of his hometown of Ajaccio, but later he went to perform in Marseille and at resort clubs along the French Riviera. In the early 1930s he went to Paris and within a few years achieved enormous success, joining a Columbia Records roster that included the biggest stars of that time such as Lucienne Boyer, Damia, Pills et Tabet, Mireille, and Jean Sablon.

Rossi's success was greatly aided by songwriter Vincent Scotto (1876–1952), who wrote his first hits and collaborated with him for many years, composing and arranging many of Rossi's songs. Prior to World War II, Rossi was a major box office attraction in the French-speaking world, and expanded his audience 1938 to the U.S. and Canada during a first visit there. Rossi began his film career with a role in Les Nuits Moscovites (1934); his first real success came with Marinella (1936).

During the Occupation of France by Nazi Germany Rossi's film career reached its peak, notably with Fièvres (1942), Le Soleil a toujours raison (1943), Mon amour est près de toi (1943) and L'Île d'amour (1944). Like many celebrities, Tino Rossi was arrested on October 7, 1944 by several police officers in search of information on his close Corsican friend, Etienne Leandri, suspected of active collaborationism. Following three months' detention in the prison of Fresnes, near Paris, during which he stubbornly refused the assistance of a lawyer, he was freed from further detention by a judge, who deemed the charge leveled against him void of substance. Tino Rossi who, in October 1943, had loaned his personal car to a resistance network to transport weapons and enable several escapes (including that of a general), accepted—an extremely rare action at the time—exceptional official apologies.[2]

In 1946 he recorded his song Petit Papa Noël for a movie. The song remained classic for the family and sold several million copies after being released on CD in 1992.

He is the recipient of the prestigious musical award Grand Prix du Disque.

Personal life

In 1948 Tino Rossi married Lilia Vetti, a young dancer he had met in 1941 thanks to revue leader Mistinguett. They had one son called Laurent (1948–2015) and remained married to each other until his death. In 1982 President François Mitterrand named Rossi a Commander of the Legion of Honour for his contributions to French culture. That same year Rossi gave his last public performance at the Casino de Paris, a show that popular demand turned into a three-month stint.[3]


Rossi died of pancreatic cancer in 1983 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. His body was transported to Ajaccio for burial in the family grave. His wife died in 2003 aged 79. Ajaccio named a street and the sailing harbor in his honor and in Nogent-sur-Marne, there is a square named Tino Rossi Square. Tino Rossi's unique status on Corsica is reflected in several (somewhat hidden) references to him in the comic book "Asterix in Corsica" (1973) by Uderzo and Goscinny.[4]


Year Title Role Notes
1934Les Nuits moscovitesLe chanteur napolitain
1935L'affaire CoqueletJean Clairval
1935Justin de MarseilleLe chanteur
1935Adémaï au moyen âgeLe troubadour
1936MarinellaTino Pirelli
1936Au son des guitaresJeannot
1937Naples au baiser de feuMario Esposito
1938Lumières de ParisCarlo Ferrari
1942FièvresLe ténor Jean Dupray
1943Le soleil a toujours raisonTonio
1943Le chant de l'exiléRamon Etcheverry
1943Mon amour est près de toiJacques Marton
1944The Island of LoveOrsani dit Bicchi
1946Song of the CloudsSylvio
1946Le GardianRenaud
1946DestinsAndré Cartier / Fred Cartier
1947The Unknown SingerJulien Mortal / Paolo
1949Deux amoursSylvain Vincent / Désiré Vincent
1949MarleneManuel Ceccaldi
1949The Pretty Miller GirlFranz Schubert
1950Sending of FlowersPaul Delmet
1951Paris Still SingsTino Rossi
1951Au pays du soleilTitin Olivieri
1952Son dernier NoëlMarc Damiani
1954Si Versailles m'était conté...Le gondolier
1954TourmentsJacques Duffot dit Tony Caylor
1963Jusqu'au bout du monde
1970L'âne de ZigliaraHimself - Lui-même


  1. Brown, Marisa. "Tino Rossi profile". AllMusic.com. Retrieved 29 March 2011.
  2. Last biography on Tino Rossi by Emmanuel Bonini, Le Vrai Tino, Didier Carpentier editor, 2013.
  3. Laurent Rossi and Anne-Sophie Simonet, Tino - L'Étoile éternelle (foreword of Mrs Marcel Pagnol), Nice-Matin editor, 2013.
  4. The hero of the cartoon refers in particular to the success Tchi-Tchi (1936).
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