Entertainer Pat Boone doesn't grant many tour date these days.
The last time he was anywhere close to our readership area was in September 2009 to perform at Amish Acres. Earlier that same summer, he made a brief appearance at a Chicagoland charity golf outing in June 2009.
Boone, who turns 79 this year, is coming to Drury Lane Dinner Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill. to do two concerts just in time for Mother's Day weekend.
His shows are at 1:30 p.m. both May 13 and 14.
Celebrating his 75th year in show business, Boone has had nearly 40 Top 40 hits, and has sold more than 45 million albums, in addition to his starring in more than 15 Hollywood films.
Boone, part of a famous family of performers, is still the man as associated with his Christian devotion as he is with his white buck shoes.
In fact, he originally wanted to be a teacher before his singing career took off in the 1950s.
He twice turned down film roles opposite the legendary Marilyn Monroe -- who would have played his love interest -- while the two were under contract at 20th Century Fox. Boone thought teenage fans would find it wrong for him to romance an older woman.
He even worried about costarring with actress Shirley Jones. He refused to give costar-film love interest Jones an onscreen kiss in "April Love," his first film with Fox, because the actress was married in real life to singer Jack Cassidy.
He has always retained a boyish charm and gracious nature over the years, including every time we've crossed paths, from his headlining role on stage in "The Will Rogers Follies" in Branson to his special appearance at the Indiana State Fair in 2006, where he helped celebrate the historic Hoosier event's 150th birthday. The first time I ever met Boone was with my parents at a celebrity golf outing in Bella Vista, Ark., in 1992.
Boone's career includes dozens of hit songs, some featured on the Indiana State Fair Grandstand Stage in 1956 and 1960 and in his starring role in Oscar Hammerstein's "State Fair" (1962).
A direct descendant of Daniel Boone, he is a cousin of two stars of Western television series: the late Richard Boone of CBS's "Have Gun, Will Travel" and Randy Boone of NBC's "The Virginian" and CBS's "Cimarron Strip."
The singer and his wife Shirley will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary this year, and they have four daughters, Linda, Cherry, Debby and Laura. Of course, Shirley is daughter of country music great Red Foley and singer Judy Martin. (Daughter Debby is married to Gabriel Ferrer, son of late entertainers Jose Ferrer and Rosemary Clooney.)
Pat and Shirley also have some famous neighbors near their long-time home in Los Angeles, which, from time to time, brings them an added dose of publicity whether they want it or not. Former neighbors include Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne.
During the filming of Ozzy's MTV reality series that highlighted his unorthodox family, Ozzy once said of the Boone clan, "Pat is the nicest bloke you could ask for as a neighbor and has never complained once about anything."
According to late actor Rock Hudson's 1986 published autobiography "His Story," co-authored with Sara Davidson, the movie star was also a neighbor of the Boone Family. He said both Pat and Shirley repeatedly walked over to his home "to pray over him," when he was bedridden and near death in 1985.
As for some of Boone's biggest song hits, they include "Don't Forbid Me," "Love Letters in the Sand," "April Love," "Tutti Frutti" and "Long Tall Sally."
Tickets to his Drury Lane show are tickets $55 or $70, if you add lunch. FYI: (630) 530-0111 or drurylaneoakbrook.com.