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RICHARD CATAN, NOTED MUSICIAN, COMEDIAN

Buffalo native and noted musician and comedian Richard Catan, 86, died Jan. 11, 2000, in Aventura Hospital, Miami, Fla., after a brief illness.

Born Casper M. Catanzaro, he graduated from Hutchinson-Central High School and attended the University of Buffalo.

Catan's 60-year career started in Buffalo with his own Society Band that performed at the Statler, Park Lane and Stuyvesant hotels. He later performed with his own group in the Army Special Services in World War II.

Catan then moved to Miami Beach and formed the musical-comedy quartet "The Miami Beachcombers."

The group toured the United States and Canada and appeared on the Arthur Godfrey and Mike Douglas TV shows, and at the Town Casino, Glen Casino and Miami Beach clubs and hotels for 45 years before disbanding.

Catan then formed a comedy-singing act, "Catan and Dale," with his partner Tommy Dale. Later, he continued as a single comic, known as "Sassy but Classy."

Catan was remembered as a multitalented musician, dialectician, pantomimist, dancer, author and avid golfer. He served as the master of ceremonies at many Italian festivals in Buffalo and at resorts across the Northeast.

Catan appeared with many noted American celebrities such as Tony Bennett, Vic Damone, Don Cornell and Frank Sinatra Jr. He also had a role in "Lady in Cement," which starred Frank Sinatra.

Having authored a book entitled "Sicilian Daffy-Nitions," a satire on Sicilian words, Catan also recorded albums from live shows he performed on cruise ships and in nightclubs. He also recorded a comedy satire dedicated to those who lived in condominiums in Florida and elsewhere.

Catan was a member of the American Federation of Musicians, Local 655, Footlighters of Miami Beach and the Screen Actors Guild.

He is survived by a sister, Mary Giles of the Town of Tonawanda.

Burial was in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Cheektowaga. A memorial Mass is planned locally at a future date.

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