Paul Anka

December 14, 2020 0 Comments

Paul Albert Anka was born July 30, 1941 in in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Paul Anka first achieved success in the 1950s as a teenage singing star (and, for the times, an unusual one in that he wrote many of his own songs). Although he appeared in several films, and was quite believable as a nervous, hyper young soldier in The Longest Day (1962) (for which he also composed the theme music), Anka’s main interest was music, and he concentrated his efforts into composing. He wrote lyrics for Frank Sinatra‘s classic “My Way”) and nightclub appearances in Las Vegas.

Paul and Sandra Dee  in The Private Lives of Adam and Eve (1960)

Anka played Sammy Glick for one week in the Broadway musical, “What Makes Sammy Run?” beginning on July 13, 1964.
Played himself on an episode of The Simpsons (1989).
During a live show Paul Anka on camera identified himself as a Catholic born in Canada to Lebanese immigrants.
On September 7, 1957 he recorded his United States (network) and (overall) world TV premiere appearance, as himself, with host Ed Sullivan on The Ed Sullivan Show: Episode #10.50 (1957), which was broadcast the following day, September 8, 1957, just as his song, “Diana,” was charting in the US (#1 on Billboard for one week in September) and the UK (#1 for nine weeks beginning in September). His first live appearance was broadcast on December 4, 1957, with hostess Patti Page, on The Big Record: Episode #1.12 (1957). Mistakenly, some believe his first overall TV appearance was on “Sunday Night at the London Palladium” (Val Parnell’s Sunday Night at the London Palladium: Episode #3.13 (1957)) in the UK, but it was neither his first television appearance, nor was it his first live appearance, as it was broadcast on December 8, 1957, which was four days after the December 4, 1957 broadcast of “The Big Record.” He sang his hit song “Diana” on both “The Big Record” and the “Palladium” shows, and both shows were live. “The Big Record” was his first live TV appearance in the US, or anywhere, “Palladium” was his first TV appearance (live or recorded) in the UK or Europe, and “The Ed Sullivan Show” was his overall worldwide television debut, happening three months before the two live shows in December 1957.

Not only did he appear in The Longest Day (1962), he also composed the main theme for the film.
Formerly co-owner of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators.
His song “Times of Your Life,” originally a commercial jingle for Eastman Kodak Company’s Kodak cameras in early 1975, was later released as a single (from his 1975 album of the same name) in late 1975, and became a Billboard hit in January 1976, when it hit #1 on Billboard’s easy listening (adult contemporary) chart, and then peaking at #7 on Billboard’s pop (Hot 100) chart in February 1976, remaining on Billboard’s Top 40 for a total of 12 weeks. The song was written by Roger Nichols (music) and Bill Lane (lyrics).
Father-in-law of actor/director Jason Bateman, who married Paul’s daughter, Amanda Anka in 2001.
Wrote the song “Puppy Love” about his romance with Annette Funicello.


Has dual Canadian/American citizenship. Became a U.S. citizen on September 6, 1990.
Father of Amanda Anka and Alexandra Anka.
He released a version of the song “Kabhi Kabhie” from the film Sometimes (1976) starring Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan.
Lorelai Gilmore’s dog on Gilmore Girls (2000) is named after him.
Has street named after him in Ottawa, Paul Anka Dr.
His childhood ambition was to be a lawyer or a journalist.
He started singing at age 12.
At 15, he won a supermarket contest to collect the most number of Campbell’s Soup wrappers. The prize was a train trip to Manhattan.
Wrote “Diana”, a love song, for the 18-year-old babysitter of his younger brother and sister. The song became America’s top song in September of 1957.
He wrote “Lonely Boy” for his mother, who died of diabetes.
To date, Paul has recorded 125 albums–including songs in Japanese, German, Spanish, French, and Italian–and sold more than 15 million worldwide.
“My Way”, the song he wrote for Frank Sinatra, is tagged as the “Killer Song” in the Philippines. It’s the top pick of drinking buddies in karaoke/videoke bars and when sung off-key, the singer is usually roughed up (or oftentimes shot or stabbed to death) by other drunks in the bar.
Had a song duet with Regine Velasquez titled “It’s Hard To Say Goodbye”.
He discovered Michael BubléCorey Hart and David Clayton-Thomas.
He is friends with Ryan Reynolds and meets him once in a while (according to Ryan).
Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1993.
Was Mel Brooks first choice for the role of Leo Bloom in The Producers (1967) (both stage and screen). Brooks started writing it as a Broadway play called “Springtime for Hitler,” and envisioned Anka as the lead character. Anka turned him down for both.
Pictured on one of four 52¢ Canadian commemorative postage stamps honoring Canadian Recording Artists, issued 29 June 2007. The other stamps pictured Gordon LightfootJoni Mitchell, and Anne Murray.
Married his second ex-wife, Anna Anka, in Porto Cervo, Sardinia, Italy in 2008, four years after the birth of his only son, and their only child together, Ethan, born 2004. They divorced in 2010, and Anka was awarded sole physical custody in 2017, by court proceedings.
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 6840 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
Has 5 daughters, 1 son and 8 grandchildren.
The first and second names of his five daughters and second wife both begin and end with the letter “A”. In the case of his five daughters (all born from his first marriage to Anne de Zogheb), the beginning and ending A’s were conscious decisions, but in the case of his second wife, Anna Anka (Anna Aberg Anka, married to Paul from 2008-2010), it was a coincidence, which he also chose not to repeat in the naming of his first and only son (and only child with Anna Anka), Ethan Anka, born 2004, prior to Paul and Anna’s marriage.
Daughter Anthea Anka duetted with him on the track “Do I Love You” from his album “A Body of Work” (1998) (on which Bee Gee Barry Gibb sang backing vocals).
Composed theme song for Johnny Carson‘s The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962).
Co-wrote Michael Jackson‘s posthumous hit “Love Never Felt So Good” (2014).
His reported income is about $300,000 per month (as of July 2017 when reported to the court in his winning effort to gain sole custody of his son).
Won sole custody of his son Ethan, by court action in July 2017.
Paul Anka’s first acting role was an uncredited cameo on the The Twilight Zone (1959), season one, episode 5, 1958, The Twilight Zone: Walking Distance (1959). In the final scene, he plays a soda jerk who has a conversation with the main character, Martin Sloan, portrayed by Gig Young.
Met first wife Anne de Zogheb, during filming of The Longest Day (1962), and married her in Paris, France in 1963, one year after they first met.
He was awarded the O.C. (Officer of the Order of Canada) on October 29, 2004 and invested on: June 10, 2005 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada One of the most popular singer-songwriters of our time, he began his journey to stardom in Ottawa in the early 1950s. Hits like “Diana,” “Lonely Boy” and “Puppy Love” catapulted him to the top of the charts, an unprecedented achievement for an 18-year-old. He has sold over 60 million records, impressing both his public and peers with his unique blend of talent and ambition. Generous with his time and talent, he promotes a number of charitable causes and fund-raising events, including “A Night to Remember,” in support of the Canadian Liver Foundation. In addition, his commitment to aspiring Canadian performers and composers has been unwavering.
He was awarded the 2012 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal from the Canadian Governor General for his services to Canada.
He was nominated for the 2019-2020 Class of New Jersey Hall of Fame in the Performing Arts category.

Personal Quotes (10)

I had this talent for these stupid little teenage songs.
[on Frank Sinatra‘s unpredictable personality] If you went to dinner with Frank, you took your passport.
[as a youngster, performing between exotic dance numbers] I used to hang out in the dressing room and dig holes in the walls with the pocket knife I carried around with me so I could ogle the girls.
[on Justin Bieber‘s dealing with early celebrity] You’ve gotta realize, none of us were born sophisticated. You get lucky at a young age, you have a God-given talent, and you’re crawling and absolutely moaning and learning as you take that voyage in life. C’mon. You can’t tell a kid who just got a cheque for $150 million. I don’t care how smart he is.
I harken back to Sinatra. He said, ‘Kid, I always get excited about putting a record out and having a hit’. And I absolutely subscribe to that. In my mind, I haven’t put my flag in the mountain. I do it to stay healthy and to stay aware and I don’t want to ever just sit back. It’s a great life. It’s a great occupation. I just want to stay on this journey.
The worst thing you can do is predicate your life on making money and then saying ‘I’m quitting’, because then you die. You stand still. They throw dirt on you.
[in his seventies, post-‘Rat Pack’] I subscribed to the fact that what I did back then could come back and haunt me. So I eat a certain way, I exercise, I don’t drink heavy liquor, I don’t smoke, I rest my voice. Little things that help me overpunch my weight.
There’s been a lot of songs, a lot of notes, but there was nothing like writing for Ol’ Blue Eyes.
[on the effect of exploring rhythm and rhyme in the classics] People always respect Shakespeare, and the play’s the thing. I stayed very viable as a writer, and my cred stayed very real. It separated me from all those other kids I grew up with.

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