Encinitas Rotary hosts Fabian Forte

Fabian Forte

Fabian Forte, who rose to prominence as a singer and actor in the 1950s, joined the Encinitas Rotary Club by phone during the group’s July 2 Zoom meeting to talk about his re-recorded track “Tiger” and other memories from his long career in show business.

The singer joined millions of people around the world in watching the Netflix docuseries “Tiger King,” which explored accusations of animal abuse against zookeeper Joe Exotic.

“I was kind of repulsed by what happened (to tigers on the show) and what happened to big cats in general,” said Forte, who lives in Pennsylvania.

He received a call from a producer, who asked if he wanted to rerecord his 1959 hit song “Tiger,” which sold over 1 million copies and was certified gold, as a way to provide some financial support for endangered big cats.

“I didn’t think it was a great idea, but my wife convinced me and it turned out to be a lot of fun,” Forte said.

“Tiger 2020 benefits abused and endangered big cats through Big Cat Reserves and Education Centers and the Encinitas Rotary Club was happy to help via Zoom,” said former Encinitas Rotary Club president Jim Merrill, who once worked as a press agent and met Fabian during an event in New York City. “Fifty club members were treated to a fascinating Q&A session from Fabian’s 50-plus years as a recording, film, and television star.”

During the Q&A, Forte discussed his memories of breaking into the music industry, meeting Dick Clark, hanging out at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, his enduring friendships with Bobby Rydell and Frankie Avalon.

“I was just lucky,” Forte said during the meeting. “I tripped over something and fell into chocolate pudding.”

In addition to his music, Forte also appeared on many television shows over the years, including “Laverne & Shirley,” “The Love Boat,” “Murphy Brown,” and “The Facts of Life.”

“Most of our members weren’t born yet when Fabian hit the charts, but they know good rock’n’ roll and enjoyed hearing one of the legends tell his own story,” said Kerry Witkin, president of the Encinitas Rotary Club.

The “Tiger” re-release is available on YouTube and iTunes. For more information about the rotary club, visit