Ralph Young, a singer best known as the English-language half of the popular multilingual duo Sandler & Young, died on Friday at his home in Palm Springs, Calif. He was 90.
His death was announced by a family spokesman, Greg Purdy.
Mr. Young's career spanned the big-band era, Broadway and television. He and his longtime performing partner, Tony Sandler, were particularly popular from 1966, when they signed with Capitol Records and recorded a spate of hits, through the prime of the television variety programs, especially Ed Sullivan's. They were among the performers on the very last Ed Sullivan show to be televised by CBS, on June 6, 1971. (It was a rerun of a show originally broadcast on Feb. 7 that year.)
The two had an active nightclub and recording career together until Mr. Young retired from the act in 1983, when he was 65. He later made solo appearances.
Born Ralph Israel in the Bronx in 1918, Mr. Young sang in local clubs. After military service in World War II he moved up to the big bands, singing with, among others, Tommy Reynolds, Shep Fields and Les Brown. He later worked in nightclubs as a solo vocalist and in 1958 appeared in the short-lived Broadway musical "Whoop-Up."
He met Mr. Sandler in 1963, when they both appeared at the Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas in "Casino de Paris," a revue imported from France. Mr. Sandler, a Belgian who was born Lucien Santele in 1933, had come from Europe with the show. Singing casually together between performances, the two became friends and hit on a formula they thought might work for them:
Since Mr. Sandler spoke many languages, they would blend Mr. Young's English lyrics to a song with Mr. Sandler's version in the original language. They also worked out routines in which Mr. Sandler sang one song in one language and Mr. Young sang a different song in another language as a countermelody. Others used similar techniques on occasion, but Sandler & Young turned a gimmick into a trademark, applying it often to romantic and inspirational material like "Dominique," "For All We Know," "C'est Si Bon" and a combination of "I Believe" and "Ave Maria."
In their first engagement in a Las Vegas lounge, they were discovered by the comedian Phil Silvers, who urged the singer Polly Bergen to use them in her act at the Thunderbird Hotel. They were a quick success and became one of the most popular nightclub acts in show business.
Their recordings made them as well known in Europe as in the United States. Tony Sandler became an American citizen in 1971.
From the early 1960s the duo appeared on variety shows hosted by Johnny Carson, Red Skelton, Andy Williams, Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas, Dean Martin and Milton Berle, as well as Ed Sullivan.