Sunday, April 15, 2007

RIP Don Ho

Don Ho, known for 'Tiny Bubbles,' dies at 76

Associated Press

April 16, 2007

HONOLULU -- Legendary crooner Don Ho, who entertained tourists for decades wearing raspberry-tinted sunglasses and singing the catchy signature tune 'Tiny Bubbles,' has died. He was 76.

He died Saturday morning of heart failure, publicist Donna Jung said.

Ho had suffered with heart problems for the past several years, and had a pacemaker installed last fall. In 2005, he underwent an experimental stem cell procedure on his ailing heart in Thailand.

Promoter Tom Moffatt said he attended Ho's final show Thursday and Ho received a standing ovation. Afterward, Ho reminisced about his many years in Waikiki and talked about how Judy Garland sang with him one night.

'Don was in great spirits,' he said. 'He was fine.'

Ho entertained Hollywood's biggest stars and thousands of tourists for four decades. For many, no trip to Hawaii was complete without seeing his Waikiki show -- a mix of songs, jokes, double entendres, Hawaii history and audience participation.

Shows usually started and ended with the same song, 'Tiny Bubbles.' Ho mostly hummed the song's swaying melody as the audience enthusiastically took over the familiar lyrics: 'Tiny bubbles/in the wine/make me happy/make me feel fine.'

'I hate that song,' he often joked to the crowd. He said he performed it twice because 'people my age can't remember if we did it or not.'

The son of bar owners, Ho broke into the Waikiki entertainment scene in the early 1960s and, except for short periods, never left. Few artists are more associated with one place.

'Hawaii is my partner,' Ho told The Associated Press in 2004.

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