Tommy DeVito, one of the smooth harmonizers of legendary doo-wop group the Four Seasons, has died from complications of the coronavirus. The baritone vocalist and lead guitarist was 92.
When reached by The Post for comment, Four Seasons frontman Frankie Valli and singer-keyboardist Bob Gaudio said in a joint statement:
“It is with great sadness that we report that Tommy DeVito, a founding member of the Four Seasons, has passed. We send our love to his family during this most difficult time. He will be missed by all who loved him.”
Actor Alfred Nittoli (“Casino”) first confirmed DeVito’s passing Tuesday on Facebook.
“My dear friend Tommy passed away in Las Vegas at 9:45 last night,” Nittoli wrote, spurring dozens of emotional condolences. “With deep regret I am writing this sitting in his living room. I was informed by his daughter Darcel there will be a service in New Jersey.”
DeVito, a native of Belleville, NJ, was treated for COVID-19 at Siena St. Rose Dominican Hospital in Henderson, Nevada, for weeks and was on a ventilator until he died, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal.
The Brylcreem-era belter started doo-wopping with Newark native Valli in the Variatones and the Four Lovers, circa 1954. After co-founding the Four Seasons in 1960, the male vocal quartet cranked out out a sprawling string of chart-topping hits in a decade otherwise dominated by the British Invasion. The bandmates’ classic tracks include “December 1963 (Oh, What a Night),” “Walk Like a Man,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Working My Way Back to You” and “Sherry.”
The Four Seasons’ sweet sounds earned them induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, followed by a slot in the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999. However, their surprisingly gritty origin story — marked by brushes with the Genovese mob family and drug addiction — is what inspired 2005’s Tony-winning Broadway hit “Jersey Boys.” The long-running jukebox musical was later adapted as a 2014 feature film by director Clint Eastwood.
DeVito left the group in 1971. At the time, his departure was publicly blamed on a hearing problem. It was later revealed, All Music reported, that he had “run up enormous gambling debts, as well as a hefty tax bill, and Valli and Gaudio assumed the obligations as the price for buying him out of the group.”
The estranged band members later reunited and shared many photo ops at promotional events for the “Jersey Boys” musical and film.
Oscar winner Joe Pesci (second from left) with The Four Seasons’ Tommy DeVito, Frankie Valli and Charlie Calello.WireImage
Actor Joe Pesci, who paid homage to DeVito by having his character in Martin Scorsese’s 1990 organized crime classic “GoodFellas” named for him, also shared his respects.
“I was greatly saddened to hear this morning of the passing of my lifelong friend Tommy DeVito,” the “Raging Bull” actor said in a statement. “He was truly a gifted musician who dedicated his life to making people happy through his music.”
Pesci added, “The time he spent as part of the Four Seasons produced some of the most iconic music of that era and continues to inspire young musicians to this day. I will always remember him for his great voice and for the character that he was. My heartfelt condolences go out to his family and loyal fans. I will never forget him. RIP.”