Clay Cole

Tributes To A Legend

NEW! View our "Clay Cole: Wasn't He Something?" slideshow

We -- Denise, Bernadette and Ronnie -- mourn the loss of our dear friend and TV and film legend Clay Cole.

He passed away unexpectedly at his home on Saturday, December 18, 2010 at the age of 72.

We've created a brand-new slideshow to celebrate this wonderful man's life and his contributions to all of our lives. It's called "Clay Cole: Wasn't He Something?". You can access it by clicking the link below Clay's picture at the top of this page.

We hope that you'll take the time to view the slideshow as well as to read below what others have said about this gentle and generous giant of a man as well as our own comments from several months ago.

Before or after you do, please check out Clay's website and view and/or sign his Guest Book by clicking the appropriate link at the bottom of his Home Page.

Please click on any of the following names to view instantly the corresponding message from that person or simply scroll down to read the messages in sequence.

Ronnie Allen  Bernadette Carroll  Mike Caruso  Johnny Cassese  Lou Christie  Bob Crewe  Larry Cutrone  Ron Dante  Tom DeCillis  Tommy DeVito  Tracey Dey  Paul Evans  Denise Ferri  Deb Ferrara  Carl Gardner  Gerry Granahan  Richard X. Heyman  Ray Hildebrand  Jill Jackson  Kenneth Johnson  Brian McKeon  Peggy March  Dee Dee Phelps  Ed Rambeau  Rick Randell  Diane Renay  Ray Reneri  Vicki Spencer  Randy Starr  Guy Villari 

In 1965 I was invited to become the producer-director of Clay Cole's Discotek at New York's WPIX. -- It was an amazing experience on many levels. Suddenly, at age 22, I was intimately involved with all of the top artists in contemporary music.

But the greatest gift was working with Clay. He was generous, kind, wise and funny. To help me get my bearings he immediately hired a limo and over the course of one evening took me to literally every one of the primo discos in New York. It was a dizzying experience, but helped me get a thorough grasp of the world Clay inhabited with such exuberance.

We had a great many other grand adventures together -- including a flight to Quebec on one of the very first Lear Jets, which I documented for our Clay Cole Sunday Show. From Clay I also learned a great deal about television producing, which benefited me throughout my later career running The Mike Douglas Show and all my subsequent work making films in Hollywood. Clay was a fabulous mentor.

And I'm proud to say he was my dear friend. I believe that no one ever dies as long as someone remembers them. Clay will live on endlessly in my heart and the hearts of all the millions of people whom he touched.

With love...


Hi Clay!

It's been said by everyone....just wanted to add my name to the list of all the people you helped to launch a career.

My days on your show at WPIX were a highlight for me.

I had the most fun being with you and our little "regular cast"of entertainers: the Del Satins, Angela Martin and Chuck McCann.

The show was funny and creative.

We didn't need much practice because we had YOU to come up with the most unique segments.

I wish you all the best.


Tracey Dey

Hey Clay;

Man it's been a long time. I'm really glad to see your name in print again. Hurry up and get back in the biz where you belong. Don't let me be the only "oldies teenager in the biz."

Please get in touch, would love to hear from you..........good luck....and....God bless....

Gerry Granahan

From Vicki Spencer, Clay's beautiful co-star in "Twist Around The Clock"!

The amazing Clay Cole!

Hi Clay,

Just wanted to put my two cents in.

I was lucky enough to be on "The Clay Cole Show " many times and we had such fun . Clay is one of the few people in the industry who is, and always was looking out for the new talent and would give them a chance to show their "stuff" on TV.

He is a warm, sweet caring person and a friend for life.

We had a ball at all of the shows, and the trip to L.A. to make "Twist Around The Clock." I remember laughing all the way. I was 16 and he believed in me.

There will never be another Clay Cole, so if you have the chance to meet him, grab it, and hold on for dear life, because there is no holding him back. I would love to see him get the credit that he deserves for all of the talent that he has discovered and not gotten credit for.

He is a living Legend !!! I love him ! Thanks again for your support, and I can't wait to read the book!

Vicki Spencer

I was only 5 when I first appeared on the Clay Cole Show. Listening back (yes, someone taped it on reel-to-reel and it's now safely burned to a CD) -- you can't help but notice that Clay was as enthusiastic when he introduced the new, up-and-coming artists as he was when he introduced established acts like Simon and Garfunkel and George Carlin. He was a champion to SO many. I'm thrilled I was able to reconnect with Clay recently. "Little Debbie Ferrara" is just a little bit older, still in music, and still very grateful. Those shows were absolutely a highlight.

You're the best, Clay!

Much love,
Deb Ferrara

Hey Hey Clay:

Didn't I loan you some money a long time ago? Ha. I do remember your enthusiasm and kindness at Jack Silverman's International on Broadway, the summer of 1963. Didn't we run around together during the day? You were the only professional part of the whole show...including Clyde McPhatter. I remember backstage and the freedom. Wow! What a week for a little small town Texas boy.

Love ya Dude,

Ray Hildebrand (Paul of Paul and Paula)


Clay, I remember how kind you were to Ray and I. You gave us your full support and the confidence to walk out on that stage. It is an honor to be a part of this tribute. May God bless and keep you safe.

Jill Jackson (Paula of Paul and Paula)

After 45 years of both working with and friendship you are a LEGEND, and besides all that, one of the nicest persons in the world who knows the in's and out's of the business cause you were there and such a huge part of it all.

I look forward with all my heart, to the up-coming years to come.

Ray Reneri

I was still living outside of Philly with my parents, and I had always hated the "Little"in front of my name. I don't remember how the agreement came to pass but I remember vividly being on the Clay Cole show blowing out the candles on my birthday, celebrating 16 years, and the "Little" was officially crossed out. I have photos, somewhere recording this event. Clay was always very sweet to me.

Peggy March

I will never forget how "smitten" my beautiful older sister Patty was that day she came home on a cloud in the early 1960's telling me about her "dream date"! That "dream date" was none other than one of the great “Legends” of early rock & roll Clay Cole!

You see Patty (who looked very much like Michele Pfeiffer) is no longer with us having passed away at only 37 years old.

Years later Clay and I met through my writing of the Pat Galo Story and we reminisced. You see many people use the term “Legend” these days all too loosely. I believe that a “Legend” needs to have more than just talent or some degree of fame. They need to be able to give of themselves tirelessly so that others may benefit without any required payback or return favor.

Clay Cole is an honorable man, a gentleman, a talent, a friend, a brother and yes a bonafide "Legend"!

Clay, from the bottom of our hearts "we all love you"!

Larry Cutrone

The Clay Cole Show was so much more than a TV dance party on Saturday night. It was a New York City family. A family with talent, kindness and charisma that came from our friend Clay.

Linda Scott, Annette, Tony Orlando, Little Anthony and Lesley Gore were all lucky to have hits and were proud and excited to perform with the Rock and Roll Ringmaster, Clay Cole!

Lou Christie

Hi Clay: I remember when Dick and I performed on your show in the early Sixties (Dick and Dee Dee). I believe we were doing a promotion tour for Liberty Records promoting either The Mountain's High or Tell Me.
Congratulations on your soon to be released book. I look forward to reading it.
I found a new partner in 2008 and am starting to perform at Doo Wop shows and other venues.
I hope we can work together again soon.
Wishing you the best of luck with many blessings.
Dee Dee Phelps
Dick and Dee Dee

Some of my best times were when I was on Clay's show. I performed on it several times. I lived just around the corner from the TV studio in New York and because I was close to one of the people connected with the show, I would often just drop in off the street when the show was in progress. Sometimes Clay would put me on camera when I will still in my coat! I did skits with Chuck McCann. I remember one where I was a nurse and he was either a patient or a doctor, I forget.

Those were the days!

Clay, you have helped the careers of so many artists, including myself. I wish you all the best.

Love: Diane Renay <{:>)

The Clay Cole Show was the high point of the day. Clay, with his infectious enthusiasm, had the hippest musical guests and played the greatest records. Not too many people remember this, but The Rolling Stones were not a huge success when they first hit New York. Clay had them on consecutively several times and really championed their cause. Clay Cole played a big part in making the 60’s such a special time.

Richard X. Heyman, The Doughboys


The Doughboys were on the Clay Cole Show two times -- once with the The Five Stairsteps and once with Genya Ravan and Ten Wheel Drive. Clay was so kind to us. When I first met him, it was like being with an old friend. I loved his show on WPIX Channel 11 -- great entertainment from all the musical groups and comedians, better than The Ed Sullivan Show! Hope to see you again soon, Clay.

Mike Caruso, The Doughboys

Thank you for keeping our memories alive. I remember you as a very young handsome dude. You were so full of energy and enthusiastic who really loved the old music.

May God Bless you and all the best for the New Year. Keep on Rockin'.

I love you.

Carl Gardner
The Coasters

Clay Cole's excitement for the music and the people in the business came through so well in his shows. Whether it was live on stage or on TV. The kind of personality so easy to get along with and so grateful to have known. We could use more in this world.

Tom DeCillis

I first met Clay Cole when the Capris entertained on his Channel 13 TV show in New York City, and sang our hit song 'there's a moon out tonight.' He perfected our presence on stage, our style and taught us how to stand, move and dance correctly during our performances. He is a very talented producer and we loved working with him. He certainly created a great impact in our professional lives.
Love you Clay,
Johnny Cassese of The Capris

Clay Cole is about the best deejay and TV personality that I had the pleasure of working with and still today he is one of the best and coolest people that I know.

Tommy DeVito (Four Seasons)
Jersey Boys

My experience with Clay was always delightful and he's in my good golden memory bank. He is also a GREAT BIG TALENT - non stop.

Bob Crewe

I was lucky enough to be on the "Clay Cole Show" many times. The first time I appreared on his show was with the Royal Teens,that was when I first met my friend Bob Gaudio.

I also remember being on Clay's Palisade's Park Show. Miss Teen USA was also on that show, Clay had us go on the Ferris wheel together, the Ferris Wheel got stuck on top...Miss Teen USA froze in fear, I kept on singing, it was a riot!...I have many great memories of Clay Cole...which I will always treasure.

Clay, you are the best in the business, and a good friend ,you helped so many of us, you were always so giving. You are the last of the Mohicans...

Love to a friend, Rick Randell

I'm the biggest Clay Cole fan in the world.
He made it possible for so many of the young and upcoming acts to get on TV.
He hosted the best music show on the east coast and was generous to all of the acts. Always promoting their new records with class.

Clay gave me my very first shot on TV and I will be forever grateful.

Clay is a legend in music TV and should be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Thank you Clay.

You rock

Ron Dante (Archies, Cuff Links, Detergents)

Oh yeah, baby! What I remember most about the Clay Cole show was that it was a fun show to do because of Clay.

So congratulations, Clay, on your 100 years in the "biz" ( okay, so I've been at it for 200 years ) and on keeping your mojo working.

Paul Evans

The most fun I ever had, doing a TV show, was the Clay Cole Show. I remember it like it was yesterday when my group, The Regents, did a comedy bit on "The Cole Bin" with the fabulous Chuck McCann.

Chuck was with my group at a table playing poker. He kept making faces and getting my guys to crack up, laughing. I think we drove the director nuts. It took us two sessions to complete the bit. (I wish I had a copy of that bit. It was hilarious.)

Clay Cole was a fun guy to work with.

Guy Villari (lead singer, Regents)

I don't know what can be said about Clay Cole that hasn't already been said but from my personal experience I not only found him to be one of the most extremely talented men in the business but also one of the nicest. Talent is usually a either have it or you dont, but being nice is an option and with Clay Cole you get the feeling it's a given. I was fortunate to be asked to appear on his TV show several times and always found him to be gracious and supportive for which I thank him till today. So what else can be said about Clay Cole? Well, what else can be said about a legend? So, here's to you, Clay. May your days be filled with everything you so greatly deserve and may the coming holidays be your brightest ever.

With love and admiration,
Ed Rambeau...the artist formerly known as Eddie Rambeau (smile).

I remember Clay very fondly because he was truly interested in each performer he interviewed. He made me feel completely relaxed and sincerely welcome when I appeared on his show. Coincidentally, several years after I went back to my "day job" full time, Clay had an office on the floor above the one where my dental office was located, in a building on 57th Street in New York City.

From one "Golden Oldie" to another, "Here's lookin' at you, Clay!"

All my best wishes to you,
Randy Starr


Appearing on the "Clay Cole Show" was more than you could hope for. I was blessed enough to appear several times with my girl group the Delicates. We not only got to perform our current record release, we sometimes got to perform with other acts as well. I remember we were on the same show with Tommy Facenda, who sang "High School USA," Clay asked us to dance behind him as cheerleaders I will never forget it, his shows were such fun.

I was also blessed to work closely with Clay on his Twist-a-Rama tour. Clay loves the music business and the entertainers, we were all special to him, and still are.

This wonderful man is very much loved and revered in the business. He could do it all..great tv host, singer, dancer, actor, writer,movie star looks, I could go on and on....

All I can say is I am so incredibly blessed to know you and to call you my friend.

Thank you for all you have done.

You are the heart and soul of rock and roll.

I love you Clay.


Looking back on my first years in the Music Business, at the tender age of 16 and facing a major television appearance, you can imagine what my brain was telling me! It was "The Clay Cole Show" and the vivid memory of Clay never left my mind. I can tell you that here was the most gentle considerate celebrity who knew exactly what I was feeling. He always gave everyone the gentle hug to make you feel relaxed and it was no big deal to meet him......He was one of us! That beautiful smile and magical personality put all those anxieties to rest. What fun!

Make believe the 45 years have never gone and we're back looking at him. He's the same Clay maybe even more gentle with every recollection of all of his friends and family and what they have given him.....his memories are alive like it was yesterday.

I'm waiting for that little hug again! I love you for giving me the chance to be part of your memories....

Hugs and Kisses,
Bernadette Carroll

During the past few years I have gotten a great pleasure doing radio interviews, including several with music personalities who appeared on Clay's show. And, if the truth be told, I learned so much from Clay!

I was always impressed at how well Clay did his TV interviews. He was the master. He was always well-prepared and, no matter whom he interviewed, he always made them feel at ease and important and presented them in the best way possible. It's not at all surprising to me that the Rolling Stones chose to make their first American TV appearance on Clay's show.

Clay, you are the best!

Ronnie Allen