Tommy DeVito, one of the smooth harmonizing founding members of legendary doo-wop group The Four Seasons, has died from complications of the coronavirus. He was 92.
Actor Alfred Nittoli (“Casino”) confirmed the baritone vocalist and lead guitarist’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 hospitalized recently after contracting COVID-19, NJ.com reported.
Bobby Valli, brother of Four Seasons frontman Frankie Valli, also posted word of DeVito’s death on social medial.
“MUSIC LEGEND! (ORIGINAL JERSEY BOY) TOMMY DEVITO (R.I.P.),” Valli wrote. “YOU WERE LOVED AND WILL BE MISSED.”
DeVito began performing with Newark native Frankie in doo-wop crews such as The Variatones and The Four Lovers circa 1954. After co-founding The Four Seasons in 1960, the male vocalist crew cranked out a decade of chart-topping hits like “December 1963 (Oh, What a Night),” “Walk Like a Man,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Sherry.”
The Four Seasons were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, and their origin story inspired 2005’s Tony-winning, smash-hit Broadway juke box musical “Jersey Boys,” which was later adapted as a 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 [fellow member Bob] Gaudio assumed the obligations as the price for buying him out of the group.”