Dick Contino was born on January 17, 1930 in Fresno, CA. He attended St. Alphonso's School and Church where he served as an alter boy. His time at Fresno High School was punctuated by his popularity and he subsequently attended Fresno State College.
Fame came to Dick in winning the National Grand Prize (1948) of the Horace Heidt Show which began his extensive musical career. His 48 appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show were unprecedented. At the height of his career, 180,000 accordions were shipped from Italy to the US. After his service in Korea, Dick continued his professional music career at the Mocambo nightclub in West Hollywood, CA (1952), where celebrities filled the audience. In the 1950s, Dick met the beautiful Leigh Snowden, an actress for Universal Studios. They were married in 1956, and had a wonderful marriage and family. Their love endured until her death in 1982. Dick was again lucky in love when he married Judy Campbell later in life.
Dick continued his musical career throughout the USA. Dick enjoyed entertaining an audience, from showrooms in Las Vegas, NV, to many Italian events. He entertained on the “Dick Contino” stage for 35 years at Festa Italiana in Milwaukee, WI. He also was a popular and regular performer for the Cotati Accordion Festival in CA.
Sadly on April 19, 2017 the world lost one of the most famous accordionists of all times. In Dick’s memory, the Dick and Judy Contino Scholars program, a part of the Youth Fellowship Fund initiative for IAMP, supports talented youth and their accordion pursuits.