While hunting Malatia for my own tree, I came across the obituary for "Toni Rami" (Anne Cerami-Malatia)
The passing of singing legend Toni Rami occurred on December 31, 2008.
Toni was born Anne Cerami on November 4, 1922 in Chicago, Illinois and has called Phoenix her home since l963. Toni became a professional singer at the age of 14, singing with the Universal Opera Company in Chicago. She soon embraced jazz and popular song as her true passion, singing with combos and big bands, and traveling the country with the Camel Caravan Show during the l940’s.
By the late 1940’s and early l950’s, she had become a well-known Chicago radio and stage performer, working on staff at NBC Radio and appearing at the Chicago Theater. Her stunning looks and grace in performance brought her to television in it’s infancy. She was chosen to be the featured female singer on the weekly nationally broadcast George Gobel Show in the l950’s. She regularly performed with such stars as Red Skelton, Jimmy Durante, Peter Nero, Tony Bennett, Rosemary Clooney, Ruby Keeler, and Nat King Cole. In the l960’s, she performed on hit television programs such as The Hollywood Palace and the Ed Sullivan Show.
After her move to Phoenix, Toni appeared at the Executive House in Scottsdale as a popular regular with her jazz combo. She also toured internationally, entertaining thousands of people with her warmth and incredible voice and performed several USO tours during the Vietnam War.
By 1969, her run-away success in Scottsdale led to her securing a multi-year contract as the star, singer, and conductor of a twelve-piece big band at the Phoenix’s Caliente Club. She broke all records as a mainstay attraction, continuously performing there for more than 13 years. She also had a local TV show briefly during this period.
In l967, she established Phoenix’s Tor/Ann Talent Agency which became an early major booking agency for Arizona’s emerging film industry. By l970, the agency was headquartered at the Fred Graham Studios in Carefree, and booked new and established Arizona actors in countless television and film productions originated there and in Old Tucson. She also booked stage talent, bringing in performers to headline at Sun City’s Sun Bowl and area nightclubs and stages.
Although she had recorded many singles since l946, in the mid-seventies she culminated her successful singing career with a hit album of big band vocals and standards called The Toni Touch, still a popular seller in it’s CD issue.
One of the highlights of her life was performing all over the world with her late husband, comedian Bob G. Anthony, whom she was married to for nearly 56 years.
A great friend and caring woman, Toni will be remembered as a consummate entertainer who endeared herself to her fans both professionally and personally. Her songs, love, and laughter will be missed by all who knew her. She was always proud of her family and thankful for her friends and fans.
Visitation will be from 5:00-8:00pm, Thursday, January 8, 2009, at Whitney & Murphy Funeral Home, 4800 East Indian School Road, Phoenix. A Funeral Mass will be at 10:30am, Friday, January 9, 2009 at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, 2312 E. Campbell Avenue, Phoenix. Interment will follow at 1:30pm, at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, 23029 North Cave Creek Road, Phoenix.
This vibrant performer, friend, loving mother and grandmother leaves behind son Torey Malatia and his wife Elizabeth and daughter Anne Malatia Glass, grandson William Glass III, brother Joseph Cerami, nephews Mark Cerami and his wife Jenean of Santa Barbara, and Tony Cerami of Chicago as well as many other nieces and nephews.