Anthem singer, 90, back in Honolulu
What ever happened to Guido Salmaggi?
Answer: Guido Salmaggi, former city auditoriums chief and perennial operatic singer of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at ballgames, returned to Hawaii two months ago with his wife, Maria. They had spent the last 15 years retired in Sarasota, Fla.
Salmaggi is now a 90-year-old "in terrific shape; I still have all my hair and teeth," and can play golf and tennis.
They moved back to their Waikiki condo because it is easier for his wife to walk around on one level, he said.
Salmaggi was also known for his role greeting guests at the Waikiki hot spot Spats, at the Hyatt Regency in Waikiki, decked out in a fedora, suit and spats like an old-time gang boss. He arrived in a limo and was called "the Boss."
"All I had to do was stand there and look pretty" for $20,000 a year, from the opening of the Italian restaurant/discotheque in 1976 to its closing in 1988, he added.
Salmaggi has been singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" before ballgames for 65 years. He first belted out the national anthem "opera style" at Ebbets Field in 1938 at a Brooklyn Dodgers game, and continued performing up to a few months ago in Florida, he said.
"I'm 90 but I'm still knocking 'em out," he said. "I've never charged to sing (it). It's a privilege to sing the national anthem that represents the greatest country in the world."
An aspiring opera tenor who debuted in New York City before World War II broke out, Salmaggi was also vice consul of Italy for 20 years during his residence in Hawaii, beginning in 1967. He was knighted by the Italian government for his service, he said.
He first came to Hawaii from New York to be artistic adviser for the Honolulu Symphony in 1968. He was auditoriums director under Mayor Frank Fasi from 1969 to 1971.
This update was written by Star-Bulletin reporter Pat Gee.
Ever wonder what happened to a person, event or issue that has been in the news? We'll find out for you if you e-mail us at email@example.com
, call us at 529-4747 or write 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana, Honolulu, HI 96813. "What Ever Happened to ..." runs Saturdays.