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Biography

  • Born

    4 May 1954 (age 66)

  • Born In

    Hoboken, Hudson County, New Jersey, United States

Pia Zadora (born May 4, 1954) is an American actress and singer. After working as a child actress on Broadway, in regional theater, and in the film Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964), she came to national attention in 1981 when, following her starring role in the highly criticized Butterfly, she won a Golden Globe Award as New Star of the Year.Though Zadora had drawn critics' hostility as an actress, she attained success in Europe as a singer, and had several hit singles throughout the world. In 1984, she received a nomination for a Grammy Award for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for the song "Rock It Out". Her cover of the Shirley Ellis hit "The Clapping Song", which was recorded for the film score of The Lonely Lady, reached the U.S. Top 40 in 1983, and she had a hit duet with Jermaine Jackson titled "When the Rain Begins to Fall" in 1984 from the movie Voyage of the Rock Aliens. A minor hit in the United States, the song reached No. 1 in some European countries.

It was another prominent native of Hoboken, Frank Sinatra, who, taking Zadora under his wing in the middle 1980s, encouraged her to record albums consisting primarily of standards. She released Pia & Phil, an album of standards with the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 1985, and recorded a follow-up album titled I Am What I Am shortly after.

In 1988, she worked with producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis on an album entitled When the Lights Go Out. The single "Dance Out of My Head" did not chart despite the top producers and club remixes by Shep Pettibone and Ben Liebrand. The album was released only in Europe. In 1989 she recorded the album Pia Z with producer Narada Michael Walden; this also did not chart. The single "Heartbeat of Love" included club remixes by Robert Civillés and David Cole of C + C Music Factory. A further album of standards entitled Pia Today! was recorded; this received a limited promotional release.

Later in 1994, Zadora played a small role in Naked Gun 331⁄3: The Final Insult, in the final act in a comedy sketch as she sang at the Oscars. In this segment, she performed the Steve Allen-penned "This Could Be the Start of Something Big" during a parody of an Academy Awards musical number.

A compilation, The Platinum Collection, was released at this approximate time and sold via "infomercials" in the US. It included repackaged versions of Pia & Phil, I Am What I Am, and Pia Today! Another CD of standards, Only for Romantics, was also recorded, but as May 2012 came to a close, it was scarce and only promotional copies were available.

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